Tourism is a major industry in Florida, and both local and aspiring business owners are constantly searching for new and exciting ways to attract visitors. Many thrill seekers have turned to some of these more daring activities for entertainment, while others have turned towards activities that seem a bit safer. Riding in airboats could be considered either a daring and exciting activity or a safe and relaxing activity depending on the individual. However, these are very powerful machines, and a small mistake can result in tourist personal injury no matter how they view the activity. Tourists on two airboats fitted to carry several passengers each were the unfortunate victims of one such accident.
The tour began normally. Guests found places to sit in the stadium-style seats on the airboat as the newly appointed tour guide repeated warnings to her passengers. As the boat made its way across the water, the driver performed small stunts to entertain passengers. However, when the boat came to a clearing with two narrow exits, the situation quickly changed.
As the airboat passed through one of the exits on the right side, a second airboat appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. Some of the passengers believed that the drivers were planning another stunt. Unfortunately, it was not a stunt, and the boats crashed together in a side-to-side collision.
Some passengers were not wearing safety belts and were launched from their boat into the water or into the other boat. Of the 48 people in the two boats, 25 of them were injured, including 15 severe injuries. Most of the injured passengers were taken to a nearby hospital in Kendall.
Despite the fact that these airboats are equipped with large, powerful motors and large fans that allow them to reach high speeds, there are no seatbelt or life jacket requirements for passengers. In fact, it isn’t unusual for passengers who are unable to swim to ride in airboats without life jackets. Any visitor to Florida who suffered a tourist personal injury during his or her vacation may benefit from speaking with an attorney about what compensation he or she may be entitled to. This compensation may be used for medical costs, damages or funeral costs when needed.
Source: miaminewtimes.com, “Florida Airboat Accidents Have Killed Seven and Injured Dozens in Recent Years“, Isabella Vi Gomes, Dec. 12, 2017