Dinner Key Tragedy Hero: "I Didn't Even Realize There Were Two Bodies On Board"

Categories: Flotsam

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Photo by Kristin Bjornsen
Four were killed and several seriously injured in the Fourth of July Dinner Key boating tragedy, when a 32-foot Contender powerboat slammed into the side of a 36-foot Carrera. But the carnage might actually have been worse if not for the heroic response of a marine tow crew, which was among the first on the crash scene and brought the circling, unmanned Contender under control in the dark water.

Now Vincent Morenza, a crew member on the Atlantis Marine Towing and Salvage boat, tells Riptide -- in his first interview about that night -- that he and the boat's captain, Burt Korpela, had watched the fireworks from the water; they were relaxing and waiting for the usual rush back to shore to end when they heard chaotic calls about the crash over the VHF radio. When they arrived on the scene less than five minutes later, Morenza glimpsed through the darkness a boat going in circles around 25 or 30 mph, barely lit, and with its stereo on full blast.

"Man, it was eerie," Morenza says.

See also: DJ Laz and the Dinner Key Boating Disaster: Too Many Watery Deaths

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Pelican Harbor Wreck Leads To Sixth Boating Death in Biscayne Bay This Summer

Categories: Flotsam

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This weekend saw yet another death in a summer of tragedy on Biscayne Bay.

Around 4:45 p.m. yesterday 39-year-old Jose Daniel Napoles was killed after the boat he was driving crashed into a pier at a small island across from Pelican Harbor then catapulted into a seawall, Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jorge Pino tells Riptide.

"We don't know why, but he ended up colliding with the dock on the island side, which caused him to go unconscious," Pino says.

See also: DJ Laz and the Dinner Key Boating Disaster: Too Many Watery Deaths

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The Miami Level of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Gets a Little Too Real

Categories: Flotsam

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Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has taken the app world by storm. The addictive game has become so massive that bloggers are chronicling their experiences spending hundreds of real life dollars on it. The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water accidentally sent out a tweet about it. High minded writers are churning out thousand-plus word think pieces on it.

It's also currently the fourth highest grossing app in the iTunes store, and could be raking in $700,000-a-day for Kim K. and its creators.

Yesterday my curiosity got the best of me. I caved. I downloaded it. The main selling point: Miami is one of the settings for the game. Considering it may very well turn out to be Miami's most important appearances in a video game since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, I had to see what it was all about.

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Dinner Key Tragedy: Advocates Say Florida Could Save Lives With One Simple Safety Law

Categories: Flotsam

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Photo by Kristin Bjornsen
A 32-foot Contender (left) struck a 36-foot Carrera (right) and then another boat, killing four people in Dinner Key last month.
In last month's Dinner Key boating tragedy, when a 32' Contender powerboat slammed into the side of a 36' Carrera the night of the Fourth of July, ultimately killing four and leaving one in a coma, all five occupants of the Contender were either thrown overboard or knocked unconscious after the impact. With no one left to man the wheel, the Contender collided with another boat, a Boston Whaler carrying nine, and then continued in circles in a pitch black Biscayne Bay, endangering even more lives.

A marine tow vessel finally brought the boat under control when a crew member leaped aboard and took the wheel. But the heroic maneuvering likely wouldn't have been necessary if the Contender's engine had been automatically shut off by a simple device called an emergency safety lanyard, or kill switch. Florida, despite leading the nation in boating deaths, doesn't require boaters to use the safety measure.

See also: DJ Laz and the Dinner Key Boating Disaster: Too Many Watery Deaths

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New Times Broward-Palm Beach Needs a New Food Critic

Categories: Flotsam

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CandaceWest.com
Does eating foie gras at Bistro 1902 sound like something you could enjoy? (Pro tip: If the answer is "No", this job ain't for you,)

New Times Broward Palm Beach is looking for a restaurant critic. The ideal candidate will have experience both reporting about food and writing long-form restaurant criticism. He or she should have knowledge of Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, which comprise one of the nation's most burgeoning epicurean scenes. Job duties include writing reviews, reporting stories, and contributing to our Best of Broward-Palm Beach edition. Please send resumé and five food-related clips to: southfloridafoodwriter@voicemediagroup.com.

No phone calls please.


Great, Florida Has a "Testicle-Eating" Fish Now

Categories: Flotsam

via YouTube
Earlier this summer Tom Rigby, a Sarasota resident, was fishing in a local creek when he felt a hard tug on his line. After a protracted fight, Rigby was able to pull the fish onto his boat, but he was stumped at his catch. The large, grayish fish with a set of human-like molars didn't look like anything he'd ever seen in Sunshine State waters.

"I got out my fish ID chart and go through all of the species," Rigby later told Suncoast TV station WWSB. "I can't see anything that looks like the species."

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Video: Partying at Nixon Sandbar on Fourth of July

Categories: Flotsam

On weekends and holidays Miami-area sandbars like Nixon and Haulover frequently transform into some of the area's hottest water party spots. But policing the areas is exceedingly difficult, and after a spate of high-profile accidents at Nixon -- including the May 4 death of 23-year-old Ernesto Hernandez, who was killed after being sucked into the running propellers of a boat operated by DJ Laz -- the Key Biscayne Village Council has moved to block off the area from motorboats as a safety initiative.

See also: DJ Laz and the Dinner Key Boating Disaster: Too Many Watery Deaths

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Miami's Hottest Backyard Party Devolved Into a Drunken, Mango-Throwing Brawl With Cops

Categories: Flotsam

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Asit K. Ghosh via wikimedia commons
The arrest report is, at first glance, your standard South Florida fare. Location: a house party in South Miami. Suspect: an 18-year-old kid. Charges: battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Then, however, there is the rather unusual weapon, listed in parentheses like an afterthought: mango.

The backstory behind the fruit-versus-cop incident isn't just bizarre. It's also a sneak peek into one of this city's hottest events -- wild bacchanals called Sharkface Backyard Parties, run by an 18-year-old who says he's related to one of Miami's most famous families.

"I don't like telling people that they are the best parties in town because I don't want to sound immodest," says Alex Balart, the young man behind the shows. "But this is everything I ever wanted in a party, and the universe just gave it to me."

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Floridians Just Keep Getting Older

Categories: Flotsam

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The economic downturn had forced several leaders on both the state and local levels to rebrand Florida as some sort of tech- and business-friendly state perfect for young, entrepreneurial professionals. That might give you the impression that Florida is turning into some hip, youth-friendly state. It's not. It's still America's retirement home, now more than ever.

Already by far the oldest state population in America, data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau today shows that not only did the average age of Floridians increase somewhat significantly between 2012 and 2013, so did the percentage of the population 65 years of age or older.

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After DJ Laz's Fatal Accident, Key Biscayne Moves to Ban Motorboats from Mashta Flats

Categories: Flotsam

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Photo by Barry Haynes via Wikimedia Commons
After two deaths and a rash of serious injuries just in the past year -- including DJ Laz's headline-grabbing incident when a man was chopped to death by the DJ's boat propeller -- the Key Biscayne Village Council has moved to ban motorboats from the offshore sandbar known as the Mashta Flats.

"It just gets worse and worse," council member Jim Taintor told Riptide. "And now it is completely out of control."

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