MIAMI (WSVN) – It was a dangerous day on the water in South Florida, Sunday, as a boat crash and an explosion on another boat sent seven people to the hospital, including three children.
According to Miami Fire Rescue, a personal watercraft and a boat collided with several people on board off the coast of Miami, near Picnic Island, Sunday, at around 3 p.m.
Officials said the force of the impact threw the two people riding the personal watercraft into the water.
“The fire boat arrived, and they found a male and female who were the passenger and operator of a Jet Ski that were in the water, we understand, knocked unconscious as a result of the impact,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll.
Officials said one woman on the boat was also injured. “We’ve had numerous calls with collisions like this, but never had one where we had the watercraft actually hitting somebody that was on the boat,” said Carroll.
Officials said some of the the uninjured passengers on the boat jumped in the water to render aid to the personal watercraft riders before first responders arrived. “They were able to retrieve them and pull them into the boat,” said Carroll.
Paramedics rushed all three victims to Jackson Memorial Hospital in unknown condition. Officials said all three patients were conscious.
The crash happened more than five hours after an explosion on a boat in Southwest Miami-Dade, near Black Point Marina, sent three children and one adult to area hospitals.
Florida Fish and Wildlife, Miami-Dade Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene of the fire involving a 23-foot 1988 Donzi boat with seven people on board. Officials said the vessel was on the canal, about a quarter mile away from the dock, when it burst into flames.
“We hope that the kids are OK, They were badly burned,” said witness Paul LaFlur. “Mostly in the face, in the arms. The one boy, his hair was a little singed.”
Witnesses were shocked to see young burn victims being taken off the boat.
Officials believe an accelerant on board the boat caused the burn injuries. “It is believed that the engine compartment flashed due to fumes that were emanating from the engine compartment,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay.
Crews airlifted the adult and one child to Jackson Memorial Hospital, while the two other children were transported by ground to Kendall Regional Medical Center.
Officials said all four victims suffered serious burns. Their current conditions are unknown.
“I feel really bad for the kids,” said LaFlur. “You go out on a Sunday to have a nice boating day with the kids, and they get hurt.”
The fire and the crash come hours after two boats collided in Fort Lauderdale, early Sunday, along the Intracoastal Waterway. Four people were transported to Broward Health Medical Center.
Officials said the incidents provide a stark reminder to residents to take proper safety precautions when going out on the water. “We try to warn the public. Make sure that you do your vehicle safety checks,” said Lay. “Utilize the U.S. Coast Guard. They have a program available to make sure that you have all your safety components on your boats up to par.”
Officials continue to investigate.
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