The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Cause still not clear in fatal boat accident

By Willie Howard

      A 25-foot boat that capsized July 27 in the ocean off Delray Beach was taking on water before it rolled over, killing a Lantana man.

      According to a preliminary report by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, three men were fishing about 5 miles south of the Boynton Inlet when the boat, a 25-foot Mako, began taking water over the stern.

      It’s not clear why the boat was taking on water, though the FWC is still investigating.

      The operator of the boat, Alaxandre Lopes of Boynton Beach, tried to start the engines of the 16-year-old boat but could not get them to run.

      All three men moved to the bow in an attempt to balance the boat, then tried to bail it out with a 2-liter bottle, but the boat kept taking on water, the FWC report said.

      City lifeguards and firefighters responded to a distress call from the sinking boat at 3:56 p.m. The boat was off the beach between Casuarina Road and Atlantic Avenue, according to Delray Beach Fire Rescue.

      Lopes and the other two men, Nelson Luna Berroa of Lantana and Supelcio Luna-Espinal of Lantana, put on life jackets before the boat capsized.

      Luna Berroa was thrown away from the boat and began to drift away in the current. Lopes and Luna-Espinal were under the boat.

      Lifeguards with Delray Beach Ocean Rescue, who reached the boat on water scooters, pulled the two men from under the boat and recovered the third man from the water with help from a passing boater.

      Luna-Espinal, 82, was not responsive after being pulled from the water, according to the FWC report. Lifeguards performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Luna-Espinal, but he was pronounced dead after being taken to Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

      Lopes and Luna Berroa were not injured.

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