An airboat accident left two boaters dead on Sunday night in alligator-infested waters west of Cocoa.
Huge efforts were made to try to rescue the boaters. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office spent hours on Sunday night in search of the pair, before discovering their dead bodies.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) also said that two other boaters managed to make it to the shore. The two survivors are doing fine after the airboat accident.
The incident was first reported around 5 p.m. ET Sunday at the River Lakes Conservation Area across from Lone Cabbage Fish Camp, a well-known stop for both tourists and locals wanting flat-bottom boat rides through the surrounding grassy marshland or access to the St. Johns River.
A witness, 31-year-old Timothy Young who was at the north side boat ramp at Lone Cabbage at the time fishing with friends, gave an account of what he saw. Young said: “The guy was driving kind of fast and he turned in his own wake… he ended up flipping his airboat.” Young said that the scene that followed was simply “chaos”. People started screaming.
Young said that everybody got worried about the boaters. Two boats promptly went out in the waters to retrieve two of the men. Unfortunately, the other boaters could not be found.
Young also said he knew early on from what he saw that something was awfully wrong. He said: “I knew from the get-go that something was wrong. I’m an experienced airboater. The back half of the boat was sitting kind of low before everything happened.”
Chad Weber of the FWC expressed disappointment with what happened. He said: “It’s definitely not the turnout we like or expect.”
Weber also did not confirm whether the casualties of the airboat accident wore life jackets. Weber only said that: “Boating, even though it’s a recreation activity can be dangerous. Just take precautions. You can’t plan for every accident, but life jackets save lives, so wear a life jacket.”