MIAMI, FL—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently faulted the U.S. Coast Guard for a 2009 boating accident that claimed the life of a child during the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. According to information provided by CNN, the California boat collision not only resulted in one fatality, but also left four additional accident victims with serious injuries.
On June 12, 2011, federal safety board officials announced that a 33-foot Coast Guard vessel was speeding in the San Diego Bay during an annual holiday event when it smashed into a 24-foot recreational boat. There were 12 people aboard the recreational vessel, called the Sea Ray, at the time of the boat crash. An 8-year-old boat passenger, whom authorities identified as Anthony DeWeese, was tragically killed in the vessel collision. While none of the Coast Guardsmen aboard the crashed patrol vessel appeared to suffer any injuries, four of them were reportedly court martialed or subjected to non-judicial punishment.
NTSB investigators said the Coast Guard boat was traveling at speeds no less than 19 knots per hour, more than twice the speed that would have been suitable for navigating the bay during the holiday event, which took place at night. The Coast Guard vessel’s cruising speed should have remained around 8 knots per hour, given the fact that there were many boats in the area on the night that the fatal boat wreck took place. Safety board officials also seemed to consider the USCG boat’s speed too high due to the presence of fireworks and other distracting background lights.
According to Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, “The Coast Guard is an organization that traditionally fills the role of rescuer… It is especially sad that a family night of celebration in the Bay ended in tragedy because of a coxswain’s poor judgment and the Coast Guard’s ineffective oversight of vessel operations.”
Moreover, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher O’Neil, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard , stated, “We owe it to the DeWeese family, the memory of Anthony, and the public we serve, to learn all we can from this tragic accident… We take very seriously our role as the nation’s maritime safety agency and we’re profoundly saddened by the loss of life in an accident involving one of our crews.”
Statistical data provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) suggested 668 boating accidents occurred statewide during the year 2010. Those Florida accidents, 72 of which occurred in Miami-Dade County alone, resulted in a total of 79 fatalities and 389 injuries.
About the Miami cruise ship injury lawyers and boat accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of boat and cruise line passengers who are hurt or assaulted onboard, the knowledgeable Florida boating accident lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami personal injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to individuals who suffer serious injuries in a wide variety of boating accidents.