FORT LAUDERDALE — A late-night trip on a Fort Lauderdale river left one teenager dead and five others injured after the 13-foot Boston Whaler boat struck a bridge early Thursday.
Investigators were trying to determine whether someone had loaned the boat to the teens because it is not owned by anyone directly related to them, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Liz Barraco said.
She said the agency has taken custody of the vessel.
The teens had apparently set out on the Middle River in Fort Lauderdale around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials said. Early Thursday, the craft crashed into pilings under a bridge on the south fork of the river, which runs through a residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale.
Michael Cooper, who lives near the crash site, said he was getting ready for bed when he heard a "tremendous smack" outside.
"I feel so bad for them and the family. I'm thinking about them. I hope they are okay," Cooper said.
The teens were taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Barraco said Thursday that three teens remained in critical condition, while two others had minor injuries. The identities of the teens have not been released.
Investigators worked through the night to process the scene. By daylight, the boat had been taken away and the scene had been cleared.
No further details were immediately available.
It's the second tragedy involving teens and boating this summer in South Florida. Two 14-year-old boys disappeared during a fishing trip in the Atlantic last month. The Coast Guard spent a week looking for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos. Their families launched a private search for the Tequesta teens, with volunteers scouring waters off Georgia and the Carolinas by helicopter, plane and boat before calling off the search Saturday.