MIAMI – Two people were killed and nearly a dozen others were injured when two boats collided late Friday night near Key Biscayne.
“The screaming was very disturbing, of course, they were saying we’re going to die, we cannot swim,” said Xavier Ruiz.
He was boating with five of his friends about a mile away when he said he heard cries for help.
“It was very dark, remember it was like 10:30 pm, we just saw heads floating and people screaming in desperation. They were telling us they couldn’t swim and they were going to die,” said Ruiz.
He said they immediately called 911 and tried to get closer to them but it was so dark he could barely see the people in the water and didn’t want to risk hitting anyone.
“There was a lady holding an infant, they were screaming a lot and there was another girl maybe around 10, 12 years old, they couldn’t swim and there was another girl behind and then a body floating between them,” said Ruiz.
Once they got close enough, he said they started to throw life jackets to them in the water. He distinctly remembers the young girl trying to get to the life jacket.
“The girl did grab on to that, she did not know how to swim so we had to give her some tips like saying try to do like a dog so you can get closer to the life jacket. It was maybe like three feet away from her but it took her a few minutes to grab onto the life jacket,” said Ruiz.
He said within seven minutes of being there fire rescue arrived.
“We saw the rescue team arrive, boat and helicopter, in fact, we used our cellphones to give them some guidance towards the crash,” said Ruiz.
He said at the moment they were so focused on trying to help the people they couldn’t process what was really happening. By Sunday, he said they were feeling the effects of that night.
“It’s very surreal because you don’t expect in the middle of the night, in the middle of the water, a mile off Key Biscaybe or maybe less to hear this coming from the water. It’s just, it’s really surreal and then to see two boats, one was sinking, the other actually pulling the other down,” said Ruiz.
The Coast Guard said they pulled 10 people from the water and recovered one body, the second body was recovered by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
A total of nine survivors were taken to Mercy Hospital.