Woman who lost arm in Boston boating accident speaks out in court

BOSTON (WHDH) - It was an emotional day in court Thursday for Nikki Berthiaume, the woman who lost her arm two years ago in a boating accident on Boston Harbor.

“It has almost been two years since I lost my arm,” Berthiaume said as she delivered a victim impact statement. “Although I try to have the best outlook considering my circumstances, that does not make it any easier.”

On May 30, 2015, Berthiaume and 13 other people boarded a boat called “Naut Guilty,” which was owned by Benjamin Urbelis, 33, of Charlestown.

While in Boston Harbor, Berthiaume threw a football into the water and jumped in to get it. Her life then changed forever.

“The propeller had sliced me across my abdomen, my knees, my back, my right arm, and cut through the bone of my humerus on my left arm,” Berthiaume said.

It all happened while people were drinking on the boat. Berthiaume appeared to be struggling in the water, so someone threw her a flotation device with a rope.

As Berthiaume held on, Urbelis’ intern, 24-year old Alexander Williams, tried to move the boat toward her. The line got caught under the boat and Berthiaume was pulled into the propeller.

“Because of their actions, first and foremost, my daughter Nicole is handicapped forever,” Lionel Berthiaume said.

Prosecutors say Williams was not only navigating the boat, but he also brought the alcohol on board, texting he had “enough to kill a horse.”

Prosecutors say Williams later wiped his phone clean when he was supposed to hand it over to police. His attorney says up until that point, he was a literal “altar boy.”

Next week, Williams will plead guilty to his part in the tragedy. One of his lawyers says it was not intentional.

In turn, if Williams stays out of trouble for 2-years, completes 200 hours of community service and attends an alcohol and drug awareness program, his criminal record will be wiped clean.

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