12-year-old boy dies, seven injured in separate boat crashes at start of Memorial Day weekend
FRANK BUMB and MELISSA MONTOYA , The News-Press Published 11:14 a.m. ET May 27, 2017 | Updated 12 hours ago
(Photo: Cape Coral Police Department)
A 12-year-old boy is dead and seven others are injured after two separate boat crashes on the Caloosahatchee River on Saturday – a tragic start to the Memorial Day weekend.
The first crash occurred around 9 a.m. after a 32-foot vessel struck the Midpoint Memorial Bridge, claiming the life Noah Pollock, 12, who died from his injuries after first responders arrived on scene. His younger brother, 10-year-old Wade Pollock, was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition. Their grandfather, Benjamin Tipton, 72 of North Fort Myers, was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. Their father, Ryan Pollock, 44, suffered minor injuries.
Tipton was listed in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital on Saturday night. Attempts to reach the Pollock family were unsuccessful Saturday.
A second single-vessel crash, about a half-mile from the first, injured four others, said Brian Norris, public information officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency investigating both crashes.
The second crash occurred at around 1:30 p.m. about a few hundred yards offshore from Jaycee Park, Norris said. One man was ejected from the boat and transported to Cape Coral Hospital. A second male and two women suffered minor injuries, he said.
Investigators were still determining what caused the two boat crashes.
“We don’t know the cause of either one of the crashes yet,” he said. “The second investigation is very preliminary.”
The morning crash happened as the father and grandfather and two children made their way west through the canal beneath the Midpoint Bridge, with their ultimate destination being the Florida Keys.
Norris said investigators were still looking into whether excessive speed or other factors played a role.
The Florida Department of Transportation inspected the bridge and is assessing the damage. At no point was the bridge closed to road traffic.
The Everest Boat Ramp in Cape Coral was closed as emergency responders used it as a staging area to conduct both crash investigations. The ramp will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time as the investigations continue.
Norris said the response by Cape Coral Police Department, FWC, Fort Myers Police Department, local fire departments and other agencies was swift.
“Most of the agencies were already out on the water,” Norris said. “This is Memorial Day weekend so we’re all hands on deck. Unfortunately, this is not how we wanted to start the weekend.”