Woman, 37, dies after boat crashes into seawall in Highland Beach

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Aug 30, 2021 4:03 PM

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A 37-year-old woman is dead after a boat she was in crashed into a seawall in Highland Beach early Sunday evening on August 29, 2021 throwing all seven members overboard.

A 37-year-old woman is dead after a boat she was in crashed into a seawall in Highland Beach early Sunday evening on August 29, 2021 throwing all seven members overboard. (WPTV/Courtesy)

A 37-year-old woman from South Florida woman died after a boat she was in crashed into a seawall in Highland Beach early Sunday evening, throwing all seven people on it overboard.

Delray Beach and Boca Raton fire and rescue units were called to the scene of the 5:15 p.m. crash. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating. In a statement released Monday afternoon, the commission identified the dead woman as Samantha Esposito of West Palm Beach.

There were four adults and three children on board. Two of the adults and two children were taken to the hospital as trauma runs. The remaining child and adult were also hospitalized but not with life-threatening injuries, said Dani Moschella, a spokeswoman for Delray Beach Fire & Rescue.

The crash happened in the Intracoastal Waterway behind a a small complex of townhomes on 1011 Bel Aire Drive in Highland Beach, between Boca Raton and Delray Beach. The boat had been heading north when it hit the seawall.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms. Esposito during this difficult time,” said Tyson Matthews, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Virginia Egan had just stepped onto her balcony on the east side of the Intracoastal to cut some herbs Sunday when she heard a woman screaming for help. She ran down to the seven-unit complex’s dock as the woman was desperately trying to raise Esposito from the water and onto the dock.

Both women were covered in blood and the screaming woman started CPR, Egan said.

“She kept screaming, ‘She’s not going to make it. She’s not going to make it,’” Egan said.

When police and paramedics arrived, Egan said she saw a man who was frantic and shouting, “Is my wife alive? I want to see my wife.”

“It was horrific,” Egan said.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission did not answer a series of questions sent to them in emails Monday. At this point all it is saying is that a single vessel was traveling north when it hit a seawall.

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Egan said she saw a man on a personal water craft, such as a Jet Ski, saying, “I don’t know what happened — I just lost control.”

Egan has lived on the Intracoastal for 26 years. She’s an avid boater but says she no longer boats on weekends, saying it is too dangerous with all the boat and personal water craft traffic. She said it is common to see people on personal water craft chasing boats and trying to jump the 4- to 5-foot high wakes the boats are creating.

“It’s insane,” Egan said.

She said she has been trying to get the Army Corps of Engineers to make the area a minimum wake or a no wake zone but has been unsuccessful.

Austen Erblat contributed to this report.

Eileen Kelley can be reached at 772-925-9193 or ekelley@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Twitter @reporterkell.

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