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Two Killed in Jet Ski Accident Near Clearwater Causeway

The most recent post on the blog for Cope, Zebro & Crawford, P.L. described a fatal bicycle accident which claimed the lives of two cyclists on the Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge. Only days later, another tragic accident in the same area left two people dead, this one occurring on the harbor near the bridge. It happened on the evening of Saturday the 28th of September, when a Jet Ski collided with a double-decker tour boat in a sudden and shocking accident. I happened about an hour before the sun set, when the boat was taking between 70 and 80 guests out for a dolphin-sighting tour.

Middle-Aged Couple Killed in Fatal Boating Collision

According to reports from the accident scene, the crash occurred when the personal water craft hit the 59-foot boat in a head-on collision in the Clearwater channel. Immediately following the accident, the captain of the tour boat took emergency measures in an attempt to rescue the victims. He pulled them from the water and performed CPR, but his actions were to no avail. The 50-year-old man and his passenger, a 49-year-old woman, lost their lives in the crash. The accident victims were visiting Clearwater on a vacation from their home in Lower Gwynedd Township near Philadelphia.

Cause of the Accident Under Investigation

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently investigating the accident to determine the cause, but preliminary witness reports state that the boat captain was not at fault. According to the accounts of some who saw the accident take place, the jet ski operator was actually piloting his craft at high speed directly towards the boat, appearing to be playing a game of chicken. In fact, the boat captain is said to have cut the power to the engines in an attempt to avoid a collision. The Commission has not yet released a statement of its findings concerning who is at fault for the accident, but if the witness statements are to be believed, it would appear that the boat operator and the tour company are not liable for the crash.

Rental Facility Liability

Boating, riding jet skis and other types of watersports are a major part of the lifestyle in Clearwater and along the Gulf Coast, but they are inherently dangerous. There are no brakes on jet skis and they cannot be turned without power to the engine. Many renters of jet skis and personal water craft are unfamiliar with this fact. This is why Florida Law mandates rental facilities to have properly trained personnel provide pre-ride instructions on the safe operation of a jet ski. Rental facilities must follow strict laws on the display of driving instruction and on the water demonstrations. Many rental facilities do not follow the law and cut corners to start the "clock" on their rental period. In many instances, had the rental facilities followed the law, the accident victims would still be alive.

Experienced representation in any PWC/Jet Ski Accident

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a personal watercraft or Jet Ski accident, you should immediately contact experienced counsel. As lifelong boaters and experienced maritime accident lawyers, the Clearwater personal injury lawyers at Cope, Zebro & Crawford, P.L. can handle your boat, personal watercraft, or jet ski case against either the rental facility or another at-fault party. They are ready to help you take action when you or a loved one has been injured or killed. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.