A 22-year-old man is dead and his same aged female companion was critically injured in a boat crash in Tampa late in the afternoon on Sunday, Aug. 5.

Witnesses to the crash told Florida Fish and Wildlife investigators that they saw the pair riding in a 15-foot boat shortly before the 5:23 p.m., incident occurred. Soon thereafter, they saw that the boat had collided with some piling, a solid water rerouting structure, nearby Davis Islands.

Some witness reports suggest that the impact of the boat crashing into the piling caused both the female and male boat passengers to be ejected from the water vessel.

Another witness said that only the male passenger was initially ejected. The female passenger apparently fell into the water as the boat began to spin out of control.

Soon thereafter, bystanders watched in horror as her body became dislodged beneath the boat. It’s then that many of them jumped in the water in an attempt to rescue both her and her companion.

One witness who came to the woman’s aid reported that the woman had become trapped beneath the boat after her long, curly hair wrapped around the boat’s propeller. Upon noticing this, one of the bystanders reportedly shouted to those on land asking for a knife to free her, but apparently was unsuccessful in doing so. The man just continued to pull at her body until eventually he was able to free her from the propeller’s grasp.

The man then rushed the woman’s lifeless body to the shore where paramedics had just arrived. By the time he got her there, she was still breathing much to his surprise. They placed the woman in an awaiting ambulance and transported her to Tampa General Hospital where she was initially listed in serious condition.

After the woman was rescued, the bystander and emergency crews turned their attention to attempting to find her male companion. A long search of the waters turned up his body later that evening.

Investigators haven’t spoken about the boat operator nor his prognosis. They have acknowledged that their investigation into the events leading up the incident continues though.

Boat accident cases are very different from automobile ones. Victims often suffer different types of injuries in them. That’s why you’ll want to have a board-certified Gulf Breeze admiralty and maritime law attorney to champion your rights in your injury case.

John W. Merting was the first board-certified maritime law attorney in Florida. Call him to put over 40 years of experience to work in your case.