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Father and son injured in personal watercraft accident near Caladesi Island

A man who was injured along with his son when the personal watercraft they were riding went out of control is loaded into an ambulance Friday in Clearwater.
A man who was injured along with his son when the personal watercraft they were riding went out of control is loaded into an ambulance Friday in Clearwater.
Published Apr. 14, 2012

CLEARWATER — A boy and his father vacationing from England were injured in a personal watercraft accident near Caladesi Island late Friday morning.

The accident occurred about 11 a.m. near marker 5 in the Intracoastal Waterway, authorities said.

Anthony Bartlett, 43, of England and his 10-year-old son went on a personal watercraft tour with Clearwater Beach Wave Runner Rentals, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Robert Scholl.

They were riding around the spoil island in front of Carlouel Yacht Club when the man lost control of the watercraft and crashed into the mangroves.

The watercraft "must have been traveling at a high rate of speed to get that far up into the mangroves," Scholl said.

The tour guide rode to the yacht club and asked people there to call 911, he said. And a group from the club rode out to the scene in a boat and helped rescue the boy.

The man was rescued by Clearwater Fire Rescue, which responded to the scene with personal watercraft units and a fire boat. Wildlife commission and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office units were also dispatched, authorities say.

The man sustained lacerations and was bleeding heavily, Scholl said.

The 10-year-old was also injured, but Scholl did not have information about the extent of his injuries.

Both were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital.

A preliminary assessment indicated that the injuries were not life-threatening, according to Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

Scholl said such accidents are tragic and often avoidable.

"We want people to have a good time, but we also want people to be educated about the true power of these watercraft," he said.

Times staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this report. Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4155.

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