Two Children Killed in Boating Accident
The storms that hit part of North Central Florida during the weekend took a heavy toll. Two people died when their boat capsized in Lake George Sunday.
A busy day on the water suddenly became overwhelming for first responders once the storm hit. They had numerous distress calls from people who had been celebrating the holiday and suddenly were fighting for survival.
Lake George, a popular weekend destination for swimmers and boaters, turned deadly Sunday for two young children. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says a 21-foot cabin cruiser capsized in the water, located on the Marion/Lake County line.
The weather may have caused high waves, causing the boat to flip, trapping a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old.
"The way Florida is, you can count on the weather turning, and with the late afternoon thunderstorms, it's been like that for the last week or so. You got to try to keep aware of what's going on. Best thing you can do is get a weather report, and when you see the weather turning, you know it's time to head for shelter," says Officer Lenny Salberg.
Wildlife workers say 4-year-old Dennis Lennon from Umatilla was wearing a life vest. Fourteen-year-old Ciara Puskas was not.
They were unable to swim to safety because they were trapped in the cabin. Lennon's parents were also on the boat but they were uninjured. Three others were on board, including another 5-year-ld who was found unresponsive. He is in intensive care at an Orlando hospital. Officials also responded to several calls of other boats capsized in the lake.
"We had three or four other incidents at the same time due to the weather. We had a capsized vessel with eight people on board that was an airboat, so we were working three other accidents at the same time," recalls Salberg.
No injuries were reported in the other cases. Officer Salberg could not confirm if the driver was an avid boater.
"If you're not an experienced boater and you start operating a boat, you're going to have problems out there."
The 5-year-old that was taken to the hospital is Cole Bizuk from Fernandina Beach. His sister Cayla was also on the boat, but she was uninjured. Eleven-year-old Morgantina Garofono from Eustis was on board; she was uninjured.
Salberg says alcohol was not involved in the tragedy.
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