TAMPA — One person is dead and another is hospitalized after their vessel crashed Sunday afternoon just off the shore of Davis Islands, near the intersection of Channel Drive and Cayuga Avenue.
Jay Young, a witness to the accident, said a 15-foot fiberglass canoe with an outboard motor was travelling at a fast speed parallel to and just off the shoreline when it crashed into a piling.
The male victim was ejected from the boat, Young said, while the female victim remained in the vessel but was disoriented.
"The boat started circling at a high speed because no one was holding the tiller," said Young, a Davis Islands resident who was out for an afternoon walk. "As the boat circled, instead of stopping the engine, she jumped out."
Young said that he had already jumped into the water to search for the male victim when the boat, still circling, hit the woman in the head.
"Her hair tangled in the propeller," Young said, and pushed her head underwater. But the boat stopped.
Young and another bystander pulled the boat to shore, freed her from the propeller and placed her on the rocks.
"It had taken several minutes to get her back above water," Young, the technology services manager at Amalie Arena, said. "By some miracle, she was still able to breathe."
Tampa Fire Rescue arrived on the scene about 5:23 p.m., spokesperson Jason Penny said, and their diving team then pulled the man from the water.
Both victims were transported to Tampa General Hospital, where the male passenger died, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The female suffered serious injuries.
FWC investigators are working to determine the identification of both of the individuals on the vessel.
Contact Paul Guzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.