TAMPA — A senior financial analyst at Tampa General Hospital died Thursday in a boating accident in central New York that also claimed his father and a brother.
Stephen Aceto, 41, a divorced father of two who had worked for Tampa General Hospital since 2006, was aboard a 20-foot power boat that struck a cement channel marker in Oneida Lake. Another brother was rescued but suffered a broken shoulder and broken ribs.
Hospital coworkers were said to be devastated when they learned about the accident Friday.
"He just had a huge heart," said hospital spokesman John Dunn. "He was on everyone's list of nicest people."
Alex Tirado, Aceto's apartment neighbor on Camden Bay Drive in Tampa, remembers him as the quiet divorced dad whose boy and girl shared the pool on weekends with his kids.
"Our kids were best friends," he said. "We'd barbecue by the pool and have a beer. That was all I knew of him. But I trusted him 100 percent with the children."
According to news reports, the Acetos were returning to the lakeside village of Sylvan Beach when they hit the marker about 10:45 p.m. Although the marker was lighted, police said it was hard to see.
The bodies of Aceto, his father, Anthony, 66, and brother Timothy, 33, were recovered Friday morning. Brother Anthony J. Aceto, 39, was rescued by friends in another boat.
Police speculated that the boaters may have been distracted by post-holiday fireworks along the lake. None wore life jackets.
A day earlier in Tampa, 28-year-old Christopher Zutes, an avid boater, died when his 20-foot flats boat crashed in Old Tampa Bay.
Wire service reports contributed to this story. John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.