The county has seen a lot of incidents on the water recently

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

A plane crash ended up in the water in Marathon during the July 4 festivities last week.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Our job is to be everywhere, no matter where the incident occurs. We got to be there, wherever it is, we’re going to be there to be a partner. This was a small little Cessna that took off from the Marathon airport on July 4, a beautiful sunny day. Soon after takeoff had some engine malfunction, and the plane crashed ocean side off of Sombrero, luckily in about four feet of water. People were able to get out unharmed, which is great. We sent our resources along with FWC, Coast Guard, not knowing if people were dead, what was going on, we had a friend of Fire Rescue on standby. We rescued the two people and brought them ashore and their injuries were nothing, which is awesome. They just told us that engine just quit on them, and they ditched them wherever they could put it down. So that was a good outcome of a sad situation. You think a plane crash not many times people walk away. So this is one of those positive things. They lost the plane but they walked away.”

Some good Samaritans helped as well.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The majority time you have a plane that crashes, the first person on the scene is going to be a good Sam, this good Samaritan who sees it, hears it, listens on the radio, gets the channel 16 report from coast guard, and goes out to try to help aid and assist. Our community always comes together when someone needs help. They stop what they’re doing and they’re all in to try to help others. That’s what makes this community so great. But yes, that’s just the normal situation here.”

Another incident where public help was sought and quickly came to the aid of the sheriff’s department was with a fatal boat accident that happened on July 5.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The partnerships we always talk about, between the sheriff’s office and the community, how strong it is, this is just another example here. It’s a sad situation at the 39 mile marker, oceanside off of Sunshine Key, just off the Seven Mile Bridge. Some people were in the water. They were diving. They had a dive flag up but the dive flag appears to have been below the t top, upside down, not very visible. So another boater, operating a 32 foot contender came too close to the boat. Apparently, we don’t think he knew that there was divers and we don’t think he knew that he hit the person. But in the same token if you can’t see a dive flag, you see a boat anchored up not underway, you should presume that someone may be in the water and give that person a long far berth away. The ocean is so big. You don’t have to run so close to another boat. But he did. He struck a diver and left. We believe he didn’t know. Another operator, another diver surfaced and had a GoPro camera going and caught the boat and driver. A lot of our listeners saw the image on the sheriff’s office page. The image looks so good and sharp. It looked like a cover shot for contender, but that was the actual boat, actual operator. So FWC asked the sheriff’s office for help. We help aid and assist by putting out our social media network. We put out the picture and called for help right away and in a matter of no time, we were getting calls from citizens who saw the boat, who ultimately know where was it parked on a boatlift and reported it. We contacted our friends at FWC and they responded. They located the boat, the operator and was able to discuss with the operator and a passenger what took place not. They were not under the influence of alcohol, which is great, but sad that somebody had perished and just continues to say, don’t see how close you can drive to another boat. Go the other way, stay away. It’s a sad situation.”

Another boating accident happened recently where seven people were injured.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is an avoidable crash that shouldn’t have occurred. This was a charter boat. It’s not clear whether they operating as a charter boat or with a recreational family. But there was a captain. I understand the captain’s license may have been expired, went out about nine o’clock at night with five kids and two adults to the refinery to go fishing. We believe while they’re fishing between nine and 1:30 when the crash took place, we believe the captain was drinking. That’s yet to be determined. That will be determined by the investigation by FWC. I’m sure at this point in time they drew blood. So if he was consuming, it’s going to be clear. He’s coming in early morning, approaching the South Pine Channel Bridge just south of Big Pine. Now the old bridge has a section taken out where you can go through and under the new bridge as long as you don’t have big high t tops that are too high. Well, you should even on daytime clear weather that area is so narrow to go through that opening, you should be off plane even on daytime. It appears this person was still on plane and tried to go through the opening but missed the opening and went too far to the right, striking the old bridge while underway on planes. Obviously everybody in boat got thrown about the boat. Everybody got injured on the boat. Four juveniles had to be transported by ground to Lower Keys Medical Center. Then three people, two adults and a juvenile had to be air evacuated out to Miami. So everyone on the boat got injured. The boat sunk right there at the bridge. It’s hard to do a rescue. You can’t really get there easy. We had to cut the lock on the gate to the old bridge, which used to be part of the fishing pier. But the bridge is such bad condition, they don’t let people out there. So part of the problem had to bring out ladders from the top of the old bridge trying to get down to the boat. Sheriff’s deputies and FWC were as well on the boat in the water trying to rescue people. We had some really good body cameras footage of the rescue going on and then tow boat USA showed up. They did a great job. They were helping with some of the more advanced patients on their boats. So between the water and land and fire and tow boat and Sheriff’s Office, FWC Coast Guard, again, we always talk about all these agencies coming together as one big team to try to help aid and assist the situation, help aid assist people. We’re so efficient, effective when we’re together as a team. So it was really chaotic. We did get the rescues in place, while people have gone to the area hospitals. It was a very, very violent crash that was avoidable again, he lived there you go through this all the time. Even on daytime, you should be idling through that opening because it’s so narrow. But nighttime is tough enough, let alone if possibly you’re consuming alcohol.”