Tourist tossed from airboat in Alligator Alley shares story

WEST BROWARD, Fla (WSVN) – A woman tossed overboard during an airboat crash in the Everglades shared her ordeal with 7News.

The airboat adventure turned into a wreck on the water when a couple’s airboat collided with another airboat in Alligator Alley.

“It was great. I mean, we’re enjoying ourselves. It was just one of those freak things, you know?” said tourist Deana Bagget.

Bagget suffered deep wounds to both of her legs and was tossed into alligator-infested waters along with her husband Rex and their two sons. The family was visiting from Texas.

“This is the one that really hurts, the right one,” she said, pointing to her bandaged legs.

“The pilots did just enough to eliminate head-on impact. So kind of took the brunt of the impact by hitting the back of their boat. We all ejected,” said Rex.

The crashed happened Sunday afternoon in a waterway near Mile Marker 35, off Interstate 75, in West Broward.

The family had just gotten off of a cruise ship and decided to stop for a quick airboat ride on their way to the airport.

7News cameras rolled as a rescue helicopter arrived at Broward Health Medical Center where Deana, the only one injured in the crash, was wheeled out to care.

“They were asking me if I could move my fingers and hands,” she said.

The family’s boat captain and the operator of the other airboat were both issued boating citations.

The Baggets believe their swift maneuvering saved their lives. They are also grateful to the first responders.

“When I think about [the crash] it kind of messes up me a little bit,” said Deana, choking back tears, “but I try not to think about it because it’s good. It’s all going to be good.”

“I’ve never been happier to go home. I’m ready, I’m ready,” she said.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the investigation into the cause of the crash remains ongoing.

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