This story was originally written by Delia D’Ambra, Reporter and published on NBC-2.com.
A 28-foot boat flipped near Fort Myers Beach ejecting a family of four into the water, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. It happened after 12 p.m. Saturday. The sheriff’s office assisted Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Coast Guard at the scene. The mom, dad, and two daughters were found in the water when officials arrived. Nearby boaters helped bring them out of the water. FWC says the family said no one on the boat could remember if they turned to fast or hit a wake that caused the boat to flip. The cause of the rollover was determined to be operator error as no other watercraft or obstruction in the water was involved.
Boat US of Cape Coral flipped the boat over and towed it out before transferring it to FWC. The tow company owner says the boat could be a total loss because it had multiple cracks all along its sides. The family of four was transported to the Coast Guard Station on Fort Myers Beach to meet with EMS. From there, two of them were transported to Lee Memorial with non-life threatening injuries. How could it happen? We’re looking closer into what caused a family fun day on the water off Sanibel to take a dangerous turn. FWC is still stumped as to how a family of four overturned their boat and were thrown into the waves. We’ve received new images of the accident scene.
Boaters who frequent Sanibel say there are a lot of factors that could have caused the accident. “In this area, you always have a combination of conditions regardless of the weather. Cross wake and current but wind and wave are always there,” said Fort Myers resident Bill Brice. Authorities are still unsure what conditions caused the 28-foot vessel to turn upside down. “I was sad, but I was surprised. I didn’t think it could happen that easy,” said Fort Myers resident Colleen Wilkerson. “There is definitely significant damage. Boating is fun, but boating is dangerous. You know just never know when you come on something like that, thank God they were OK,” said TowBoatUS Cape Coral owner Richard Paul.
Some Sanibel beachgoers think vessels speed too fast in the waters where the family of four capsized. “Maybe if people slowed down and were a little more courteous of other people, it might cause less people to have accidents,” said Lee County resident Donna Thomas. The tow company says the family in the accident owned the boat they were in. The names of the boaters have not been released yet.