Lidia Tapanes of Miami, Florida, was one of 14 people on a boat that capsized after taking water in a canal near the edge of Biscayne Bay on Sunday. Tapanes, 80, was trapped under the water and didn’t have a pulse when rescue workers got her to safety. She was taken to North Shore Medical Center in “extremely critical” condition.
According to Miami Fire Rescue, the boat capsized near the corner of NE 87th Street and NE Bayshore Drive sometime after 5 p.m. on December 25. Witnesses saw the small boat get hit by a wave and flip over as it was steering towards an inlet. It was carrying a group of 14 teenagers and adults, sources say.
Alan Phillips was one of the witnesses who saw the boat capsize. He told news sources that he called his friend Ron Stamey to help. Stamey immediately got his kayak and went into the water to help the passengers. He ended up rescuing four people before first responders stepped in to save the remaining ten.
13 of the passengers got to shore safely, but Tapanes was trapped under the boat. She reportedly didn’t have a pulse when she was rescued and paramedics tried to resuscitate her on shore before transporting her to a hospital.
Witnesses told news sources that the area the accident occurred is heavily trafficked and accidents this bad rarely happen. One witness, identified as David Kahn, told the press that to see a boat capsize in the bay is “very unusual.” He suggested that the boat must have been overloaded. Other witnesses claim that none of the passengers were wearing life jackets.
The boat is registered to Misael Gonzalez, but it is unclear who was steering the vessel when the accident occurred. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are reportedly investigating the incident.