PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Four people were injured after two airboats crashed in the Florida Everglades in Western Broward County, causing one of them to burst into flames and sending some of the passengers into the water.
Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Rescue units responded to the crash near the end of Loxahatchee Road, on the Broward-Palm Beach county line, at around 11 a.m., Friday.
Officials said the two airboats collided when entering the same area.
“Preliminary information suggests we had two airboats, commercial airboats, collide out in our Wildlife Management Area,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Tyson Matthews.
First responders described the crash in radio transmissions.
“It looks like two or three people were thrown out of the boats,” said a first responder.
“But they were able to get them all to shore? Everyone’s accounted for?” said a dispatcher.
“There’s nobody in the water,” said the first responder.
7Skyforce hovered over the fiery wreckage.
Several fire rescue units tended to the injured victims at the Loxahatchee Road Boat Ramp.
Investigators said there were five people on board the airboat that caught fire. Only one of them did not suffer any injuries.
“This is all still early information, but what we have right now, there were four injured people on an airboat, and they were all transported to Broward [Health] North hospital,” said Matthews.
Officials said two of the patients suffered serious injuries.
Witness Jill Atkinson said she was on a tour when her airboat passed the crash site.
“A lot of black smoke. It was a little scary,” she said. “The boat was on its side. There was definitely a big hole in the boat. Most of it was on fire; debris was all around it.”
Tim Villanueva said he also saw the charred vessel.
“There was a big dent in the side of it, like it had been T-boned,” he said.
FWC officials have since taken over the investigation. They were seen taking pictures at the scene and focusing on an airboat at the boat ramp called the Sawgrass Express.
As of 5 p.m., the airboat that caught fire was still sitting out in the water.
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