One killed, 11 injured after boat crashes into channel marker and capsizes off the Florida Keys

A Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue boat pulls into a slip at Black Point Marina Sunday night, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. The boat brought to shore several people injured in a boating crash earlier in the night. (David Goodhue/Miami Herald/TNS)

David Goodhue and David J. Neal

Miami Herald

MIAMI — A 17-year-old girl died Monday from injuries she suffered as a result of a tragic boating crash off the Upper Florida Keys the night before.

Lucy Fernandez, a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, was with 14 other people on board a 28-foot Robalo center console that crashed into a channel marker around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Eleven other passengers were injured, three of them seriously and taken to area hospitals.

Lucy Fernandez

“Known for her smile, larger than life personality and signature laugh, Lucy was a joy to all who knew her,” Sister Carmen T. Fernandez, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy president, wrote in an email to students and parents Monday.

“She was a young woman of faith, well liked by her teachers and peers, empathetic, faithful and hungry for God,” Fernandez wrote. “And though her sudden passing is heartbreaking and has come as a shock to us all, I have absolutely no doubt that Lucy was ready to meet our Lord and enter his Kingdom.”

Four people, including Lucy Fernandez, were airlifted as trauma alert patients after a Sunday evening boat crash in the Upper Florida Keys, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said. At least two other people injured are seniors at Our Lady of Lourdes, Sister Fernandez said in the email.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the boat hit a channel marker and capsized. The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. in the Intracoastal Waterway in Biscayne Bay, about 10 miles south of Boca Chita, said Officer Jason Rafter with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the lead agency investigating the accident.

In video provided by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Capt. Juan Garrandes said Miami-Dade Police Marine Patrol units got to the crash site first, pulled some injured people out of the water and took them to Elliott Key island, from which they were airlifted. Then, Fire Rescue and Marine Patrol units collected the rest of the passengers and brought them to land.

Rescue crews set up operations at Black Point Marina in South Miami-Dade. Several people with minor injuries walked off the county vessel wrapped in white blankets. At least three of the people to exit the boat were children.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the lead agency investigating the crash, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Erika Benitez said.

Lucy is survived by her parents, Andy and Meli Fernandez, and a brother named Kevin, Sister Fernandez (no relation), wrote in the memo.

The school scheduled a vigil service to pray the Rosary in Lucy’s memory Monday night, and planned a prayer service when classes resumed Tuesday.

“Our team of guidance counselors, campus ministers, theology teachers and other licensed professionals will be available to provide support, comfort and reassurance to all those who need it,” Fernandez said. ”May we continue to pray with each other and for each other, as we mourn the passing of one of our own. May Lucy and her beautiful smile rest in eternal peace.”

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