Broward County

Sailboat struck power line, halted marine traffic in Fort Lauderdale

A sailboat traveling west on the New River crashed into a powerline at 401 Southwest Fourth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale on Monday afternoon.
A sailboat traveling west on the New River crashed into a powerline at 401 Southwest Fourth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale on Monday afternoon. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue

A 75-foot sailboat heading west on New River struck a power line, causing a brief power outage throughout downtown Fort Lauderdale and stopping all marine traffic until early Tuesday morning.

The explosive crash happened at 1:42 p.m. when the sailboat hit a power conductor, causing three power lines to fall.

"I heard the explosion," said Natasha Gross, the wife of the boat's captain, told the Sun-Sentinel. "It was very frightening, very intense, and the boat rocked a lot because of the cables. It was a loud noise, kind of firework-like."

Fort Lauderdale police shut down the river around 2 p.m. Monday and ordered three county drawbridges to stay closed.

Approximately 13,000 customers experienced a power outage lasting less than a minute, said Florida Power & Light spokesman Bryan Garner.

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Broward Health Medical Center were both part of the area briefly affected. Some of the hospital’s computers and phone lines went down.

Authorities said marine traffic would be closed while officials retrieved lines that fell in the water. Pedestrian traffic was also restricted in the area of SW Second and Fourth avenues.

The crash also shorted out some of the electronics on the sailboat, sending a shock to the captain of the boat, who was later hospitalized on precaution.

None of the other passengers were reportedly injured.

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