Two airboats slammed into each other in the Everglades Monday morning, sending more than a dozen people to local hospitals, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The crash happened around 11:34 a.m. near Gator Park, 24050 SW Eighth St., about seven miles west of Krome Avenue in Everglades National Park.
“All patients had minor injuries. Out of the 24 passengers, 16 or 17 of them were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries,” said chief fire officer John Meic.
"Seconds before impact, we knew what was happening and you just had to brace yourself and hold on," Peter Brown, who was on one of the boats, told WPLG Local 10. “And once that happened, obviously there was lots of screaming, people in pain and what have you."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.
“We’re not sure what caused it, but the weather at the time had to be pretty nasty,” Meic said.
The crash happened just before the National Weather Service issued a flood advisory around 1 p.m. for several parts of Miami-Dade County. Several inches of rain fell around Kendall, Pinecrest and Coral Gables. The advisory ended at 4 p.m.
An employee at Florida Airboat Rides at Gator Park confirmed that two of their airboats carrying tourists had crashed amid stormy weather and that there were no major injuries. She said that some passengers had fallen into the water and that other airboats helped bring them to shore. She did not want to be identified and would not comment further.
The airboat rides continued when the weather cleared, she said.