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Girl injured in boating accident had leg amputated Tuesday

The family of a swimmer seriously injured by a boat propeller this past weekend is happy she is still alive. The girl was hit while trying to board from the water was airlifted from the scene to St. Mary's Medical Center in South Florida Saturday, near Juno Pier where the boating accident occurred. She remains in critical condition at the hospital this week.

The girl seriously injured in the incident is a local resident and high school student. One of her legs was so severely injured by the boat's propeller that she was forced to undergo an amputation of the leg below the knee Tuesday.

Witnesses to the boat accident claim that as the girl and two others were attempting to climb on board, the teenage driver was forced to suddenly rev the engine in order to prevent the boat from proceeding further towards shore and becoming beached. As the boat abruptly backed up, the girl's leg was likely pulled underneath the boat and into the propeller, causing the injury.

The incident occurred in a designated swimming area where boats are prohibited. Other eyewitnesses to the incident claim the driver failed to heed multiple warnings from lifeguards just prior to the incident, proceeding towards shore to pick up friends within the designated swimming area.

Law in the water is a bit different than on land. There is no specific licensure necessary for operating recreational watercraft as there is to operate a car or truck, though many boating safety courses exist and are good options to pursue in learning how to prevent boat accidents.

Investigation of the incident by the Palm Beach County Sherriff's Office continues this week. Once complete, the State Attorney's Office will make the call as to whether or not charges will be filed by the state in relation to the boating accident. Despite the outcome, many victims of these accidents choose to pursue civil suits to recover necessary compensation for their injuries.

Sources: Orlando Sentinel "Uncle: gardens girl hit by boat propeller lost part of left leg" by Cynthia Roldan, The Palm Beach Post, 2/8/11

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