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4th of July Boat Crash Kills 4, Injures 8

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Rachel Moody3 years ago

A boat crash that occurred on the Fourth of July on Biscayne Bay after the holiday fireworks display has resulted in the deaths of four people and the injury of eight others. On Monday, authorities confirmed they had found evidence of alcohol on board the boat responsible for the crash. 

About the Fatal Boat Crash

According to an ABC affiliate, a total of 22 people were on board the three boats involved in the crash which occurred about three miles from Dinner Key Marina in Miami, Florida. 

Andrew Garcia, 23, was piloting the 32-foot Contender center-console and Victoria Dempsey, 20, and Kelsie Karpiac, 24, were riding in the same boat when it T-boned a 36-foot Carrera and also struck a 35-foot Boston Whaler – all three were killed.  Jason Soleimani, 23, was on board the Carrera and also was killed. 

Catherine Payan remains in the hospital in critical condition with a severe brain injury.  She was on the first boat with four other people.

Investigators say the second vessel was hit with such force that a hole was left in its side.  Eight people were on board the Carrera.  In addition to Soleimani, six people were injured and hospitalized, one in critical condition. 

The first vessel continued on, its captain thrown in the water, striking a 35-foot Boston Whaler with nine people on board.  Only one sustained minor injuries. 

Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed Monday that the boat Payan was on was traveling at a high rate of speed and was going in circles after the crash.  Captain Burt Korpela of Atlantis Marine Towing and Salvage was able to pull up beside the boat while First Mate Vincent Morenza jumped on board the Contender and brought it to a stop. 

According to Pino, the men discovered two unconscious females in the boat full of blood, the others had been ejected into the water.

Recreational Boating Statistics

The following statistics were taken from the U.S. Coast Guard:

  • In 2013, the Coast Guard counted 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths and 2,620 injuries. 
  • The fatality rate was 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. 
  • There were 947 incidents of collisions with recreational vessels, resulting in 36 deaths and 619 injuries.  


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