A second person has been placed on life support following a catastrophic collision early Saturday afternoon between two charter boats in Scipio Creek.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Saturday afternoon confirmed that one man died within hours of the collision, which took place just about noon on a flat between Scipio Creek and the Apalachicola River.
Kelley Funeral Home said that on Saturday afternoon at about 4 p.m., they transported the body of a 56-year-old man from Georgia to the medical examiner’s office in Tallahassee for an autopsy.
Sheriff A.J. Smith said he rushed to the scene immediately upon learning from dispatch about the accident. w
After arriving at the Scipio Creek Marina, he jumped aboard a boat along with Trey Ross and Bert Carpenter to the scene where a 23-foot and a 21-foot vessel in Scipio Creek had collided in the marsh, at or near a cut-through across from the Apalachicola Ice Company at 247 Water Street.
The boats were piloted by A.J. Finch and Jimmy Maxwell. Maxwell’s boat was sunk while Finch’s boat, damaged but still floating, later returned to the docks.
“When we got there, someone was pulling one of the males out of the water,” Smith said. “There was one female lying out on the side on board.
“They were trying to get people triaged on the dock,” he said. “You could tell it was very serious.”
The sheriff said Finch assisted with the rescue of the three passengers and pilot who had been on Maxwell’s boat,
“They were going through a cut-through, where it was very shallow.,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, the sheriff confirmed that the woman, who had been transferred by ambulance in critical condition to Bay Medical Center in Panama City, had been placed on life support.
The other of the two male passengers was treated for his injuries at Weems Memorial Hospital in Apalachicola.
Officers from FWC, the Apalachicola Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
“There are a lot of curves in there,” said Apalachicola Police Chief Bobby Varnes.
Varnes said Finch and Maxwell had not sustained life-threatening injuries. “Both were talking and standing,” he said.
The sheriff said speed can be a factor in these accidents. “Boats are like cars, they run fast and you have to very aware all the time,” he said.
“Nobody hardly abides by the ‘no wake zone,’ ” he said, adding that he would like to see the area better marked by signage.
“This is a very unfortunate vessel incident,” said Major Fred Rondeau, FWC
northwest regional commander. “We ask that the community keep the family
of the victim in their thoughts, and hope for a speedy recovery for those injured.”
This accident remains under investigation, and more information will be shared