Coast Guard Formally Charges Airboat Captain

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Coast Guard is formally charging an airboat captain today with negligence and is opening a formal hearing board to revoke or suspend his merchant mariner’s license after the death of a seven-year-old passenger June 9, 2006.

Bruce Fryer, the operator of an airboat from Central Florida Airboat Tours, was illegally carrying seven tourists from Atlanta on his un-inspected vessel in Puzzle Lake, Fla., just east of Oviedo, Fla., when he attempted to cross a small portion of land and ejected a child and mother. The child later died of massive head injuries sustained from the accident.

The hearing process is a formal adjudication under the Administrative Procedures Act. The hearing is directed toward an individual’s right to possess a merchant mariner’s license and the right to operate under the authority of that license, which is required while carrying passengers for hire on waters subject to Coast Guard jurisdiction.

Under U.S. law, any vessel carrying seven or more passengers for hire must be inspected by the Coast Guard to ensure it meets the minimum required standards for safety and life saving.

The hearing will be open to the public when it is convened.

Source: USCG D7 Public Affairs

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