The school community mourns Lucy Fernandez boating accident, who died after the boat she was on hit a marker and capsized. She was a 17-year-old student at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy.
All 14 occupants of the boat were ejected when it crashed into a channel marker Sunday night near Boca Chita Key. Police and fire rescue boats helped tow them to safety.
On what was supposed to be a day full of exhilaration and exploration, a tragic twist of fate changed the course of Lucy Fernandez’s life. Her untimely death served as a sobering reminder that boating is not without its inherent risks and underscores the importance of rigorous safety measures. While those who knew her mourn the irreplaceable void left by her untimely departure, Lucy’s vibrant spirit will remain a shining light in the community, inspiring others to navigate life’s waters with prudence.
The crash that killed Lucy was the result of a combination of factors, including adverse weather conditions and mechanical failures. The accident occurred on Sunday evening, shortly before 7 p.m., near Boca Chita Key. The 29-foot Robalo boat with 14 people on board crashed into a channel marker, sending those aboard flying into the water. Four of those aboard suffered severe injuries and were airlifted to hospitals. According to the Miami Herald, the cause of the crash remains under investigation by authorities.
Friends and classmates gathered Tuesday morning to pray and grieve in the wake of the tragedy. As the sun rose over Matheson Hammock, students comforted one another as they struggled to come to terms with the loss of their friend. Several of them spoke about her infectious laughter and genuine nature, noting that she was a bright light in their lives.
It was unclear whether anyone had a cell phone onboard to call for help, but rescue efforts were immediately launched. The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) sent 10 units to the scene and worked alongside Miami-Dade Police marine patrol units and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. MDFR officers pulled some of the victims from the water and took them to Elliott Key island, where they were waiting for a helicopter to take them to a hospital.
While the details of the crash are under investigation, it is known that the boat was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck the marker. The resulting impact caused the vessel to flip over. The boat’s driver, identified as George Ignacio Pino, 52, and his wife were rescued from the water, but five other passengers sustained injuries.
When the boat hit a channel marker, it was thrown off its course and capsized. It threw the 14 passengers off into the water, including 17-year-old Lucy Fernandez. The teen was a student at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, two all-girls Catholic schools in Miami-Dade County. She died of her injuries on Monday morning.
The accident happened Sunday evening at Boca Chita Key, according to NBC affiliate WTVJ. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials say 11 of the 14 passengers suffered injuries in the crash, with four of them “suffering traumatic injuries” that required them to be airlifted to a local hospital.
Sources say the 29-foot Robalo vessel was heading back to its dock when it hit the fixed channel marker. They say the driver turned to check on the passengers and lost control of the boat.
All of the passengers were thrown into the water. Some people who were rescued said they were trapped under the capsize. Others were able to swim to the surface and make it to safety. In video provided to WPLG, a Miami-Dade police marine patrol unit and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boat pulled some of the victims from the water.
One of the most serious injuries sustained in the accident was a traumatic brain injury. This type of injury is caused when a person loses oxygen in the water and doesn’t get it back right away. It can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Another serious injury in the boating accident was a spinal cord injury. This happens when the spine is compressed by an object or by a large wave. The most common spinal cord injury is a herniated disc, which occurs when a portion of the spinal cord protrudes through a ruptured disc.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of Lucy Fernandez. As of this writing, over $550,000 has been raised. The money will be used to start a scholarship fund at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in her name. It is also intended to help the school pay for a counselor that will be able to assist students in coping with their grief.
Lucy Fernandez was 17 years old when she died in a tragic boating accident. She was one of 14 people on a boat that hit a channel marker and capsized near Boca Chita Key Sunday evening. The other 13 passengers were thrown into the water, and four suffered traumatic injuries and had to be airlifted to the hospital. They were mostly students from Lourdes Academy and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, two all-girl Catholic schools in Miami-Dade County.
The boat operator, George Pino, said he turned to check on the girls and that’s when he ran into the channel marker. He also blamed the crash on a boat that sped past him as he entered the Cutter Bank channel. He was not charged with any crime in the incident, but his family is now facing a lawsuit from the families of two of the other injured girls.
The parents of Katerina Puig and Coco Aguilar say they are still recovering from their traumatic injuries in the accident. They filed a lawsuit against Pino and his wife Cecilia, who were supposed to be supervising the teens. They allege that the couple bought alcohol and allowed the teens to drink it before they took them out on the water. They also accused the Ocean Reef Volunteer Fire Department of not responding to the scene quickly enough.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the families of the victims in the boating accident. So far, over $550,000 has been raised.
On Friday, the girls returned to class at Lourdes Academy in Southwest Miami-Dade and held a morning vigil for Lucy. Sister Carmen says the community of girls was close-knit. They have been friends since they were little girls, and the incident has shaken everyone. Sister Carmen says Lucy was known for her happy personality and beautiful smile that would light up any room. The girls are still grieving the loss of their friend, but they are trying to move forward. The team wore a pink and yellow ribbon in honor of Lucy at their soccer game Friday night, which they won.
The parents of a girl who was injured in a September boat crash that killed another student from two Miami Catholic schools are suing the adults supervising the girls and the volunteer fire department that responded to the scene. The lawsuit filed by the family of Katerina Puig, a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart who was permanently disabled in the crash, blames George Pino and his wife Cecilia for serving the teens alcohol on the day of the accident and says their actions “caused and/or contributed to” her injuries.
The lawsuit alleges that the Pinos were partying on board their 29-foot Robalo center console with friends, including Katerina and her friend Coco Aguilar, when it struck a channel marker in Cutter Bank and capsized. Police have said that all but one of the 14 people onboard were ejected from the vessel, and Lucy Fernandez died from her injuries.
Attorney Ralph Fernandez, who is representing the girls in their legal claims, specializes in maritime law and commercial litigation, with a particular focus on the financial services industry. He began his career as a Miami-Dade County public defender and has tried more than 200 jury trials to verdict. He also serves as a professor at Florida International University College of Law, teaching a course on BSA/AML and OFAC compliance.
Coco and her teammates are making a fierce comeback months after the crash that claimed Lucy’s life and severely injured Katerina. On Friday night, Coco’s team from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy won its semi-final match against Hialeah. It was the first time the team had played since the September incident that shook a tight-knit community of students from the two Miami Catholic schools.