The US Coast Guard is to begin investigations into a fatal boat accident in the Florida Keys, which killed one person. The boat capsized after it was swamped by a large wave, and the persons on board, including a two-year-old child, survived for hours hanging onto a cooler and to the capsized boat. An eighty-year-old woman, who was holding onto her son, was swept away and died.
The seven remaining boaters were rescued, and taken to the hospital for evaluation. None of their injuries were reported to be life-threatening. All suffered exhaustion and jellyfish bites.
Few of the people on board were dressed for boating, none of the men were wearing personal flotation devices, although three of the women were reportedly wearing life vests. The eighty-year-old woman who drowned was not wearing a personal flotation device.
The Coast Guard is likely to focus on this breach of boating safety rules and also likely to focus on overcrowding as a factor in the accident. The was a 22-foot recreational boat had eight people on board.
According to the Coast Guard failure to wear personal flotation devices was a major factor in the number of boating accident fatalities in 2010. Approximately 75% of all victims in fatal boating accidents, drowned. Of these, more than 90% were not wearing a personal flotation device.