While we have no idea why these people went out on the water in such conditions, this is another lesson in the importance of wearing a life jacket and remembering to stay with the boat should you capsize.
Seven people who survived 20 hours in the Florida Keys after their boat overturned are in remarkably good condition, officials said on Monday. An eighth person sailing with the family, 79-year-old Zaida San Jurjo Gonzalez, died before they were rescued. She was the only person not wearing a life vest, said Bobby Dube, a public information officer with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. Searchers are still looking for her body.
The seven survivors were identified as Jorge Alejo Gonzalez, 62, Tomasa Torres Gonzalez, 58, Elena G. Gonzalez, 52, Juglar Riveras, 34, Jose Miguel De Armas, 40, Yunisleidy Lima Tejada, 25, and Fabiana De Armas Lima, 4.
The family members from Royal Palm Beach and Hialeah, FL, were in a 22-foot boat near Tennessee Reef Lighthouse off Long Key when their relaxing weekend turned into horror on Saturday. With winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour and swells up to 10 feet, the boat capsized, sending all eight family members into the choppy waters.
“It was so nasty that we couldn’t get any aircraft up,” said Dube of the rescue. “Boat crews were out there looking.” The three women and child were already wearing their life vests when the boat capsized, but the men were not. One of the men had to swim underneath the water and into the boat to obtain vests for the men.
The three men clung to the boat until David Jensen, a fishing guide, found the men and called 911. “We always preach staying with the boat because it’s easier to find an overturned boat than it is a head bobbing out in the ocean,” said Dube.
The three women and the little girl had drifted from the boat. The girl was clinging to a cooler.
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