Nina Poppelsdorf was killed and four others were injured Thursday in a Pompano Beach, Florida boating accident near the Hillsboro Inlet, news sources indicate. Poppelsdorf, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene. The four other injured parties have not yet been identified. The accident occurred when a large wave capsized the Coral Princess, a 45-foot vessel that was carrying 21 passengers and 2 drivers. An investigation into the accident is ongoing. So far, no one has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Reports say Poppelsdorf was in South Florida spending time wither her family during the Thanksgiving holiday. She was visiting from Sandia, New Mexico, where she worked as a professional diver, reports say. On Thursday, she and 21 other divers were aboard the Coral Princess, out at sea near the Hillsboro Inlet.
According to reports, the accident occurred around 1:00 Thursday afternoon as the Coral Princess headed to shore after a short day of diving. Reports indicate that wind speed that afternoon ranged from 20 to 30 miles per hour, creating waves up to seven feet high. As it made its way back, a large wave collided with the ship, flipping it. The giant wave battered the ship, breaking it apart. It is not yet known whether improper maintenance or a defect may have contributed to the ship’s inability to protect its passengers.
When the Coral Princess flipped, it sent her passengers into the water, injuring four and killing Poppelsdorf. Rescue teams and paramedics from the Coast Guard and the Broward County Police department rushed to the scene to help the survivors. A nearby witness reportedly saw Poppelsdorf being pulled from the sea. “She came up limp,” he told reporters, saying he knew something was not right.
The wreck injured four other passengers as well, and paramedics rushed them to the Broward Health North hospital to be treated for their injuries. Paramedics on the scene treated the rest of the crew. The uninjured survivors were escorted to police headquarters to give statements regarding the wreck. There, they reportedly explained to officers that “a large wave hit the vessel as it approached the rough water of the inlet.”
An investigation into the accident is ongoing, reports say. One spokesperson from the Coast Guard told reporters “The cause of the capsizing is under investigation.” Detectives are still trying to determine Poppelsdorf’s exact cause of death.
In other news related to the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Florida Highway Patrol announced plans to increase patrol units starting Thursday in an effort to catch reckless driver over the holiday weekend. The police force said it will deploy around 1,600 officers to patrol the state’s busiest roads.
A spokesperson from the FHP says it will set up roadside speed traps to catch speeders. The effort will ensure everyone’s safety as they travel to be with loved ones this Thanksgiving weekend. According to reports, 30 people died in traffic accidents in Florida during last year’s thanksgiving holiday. That number dropped from 38 the previous year, but was still cause for concern.