Boat hits a pole in Florida Keys and ejects 7 people into the water, killing one of them

A Texas man died in the Florida Keys after the boat he as on hit a concrete power line pole, fish and wildlife police say.

After the boat, a 22-foot Hydra-Sport center console, crashed into the pole on Sunday, the driver, Martin Mohr, 60, of Islamorada, and his six passengers went into the water, according to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency investigating the accident.

The boat continued to spin in circles, as nearby boaters frantically pulled the people floating in the water out of its path.

A pilotless boat spins out of control in the shallow Florida Bay water off Indian Key Fill in the Florida Keys Sunday, May 22, 2022.
A pilotless boat spins out of control in the shallow Florida Bay water off Indian Key Fill in the Florida Keys Sunday, May 22, 2022.  

One of the passengers, Jeffrey Jones, 48, died in the water, according to the FWC report. It's not clear if he was hit by the boat while he was in the water or died from injuries in the crash.

The others, including Mohr, were injured. The extent of their injuries were not known Tuesday.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Officer Jason Rafter said the incident is under investigation, but he added alcohol was not a factor.

The crash happened around 4:45 p.m. a few yards off Indian Key Fill in Florida Bay at mile marker 78.5, where concrete Florida Keys Electric Cooperative power line poles dot the shallows off the shoreline.

Nancy Stellway was in a car heading north home to West Palm Beach when she noticed the out-of-control vessel right after she crossed Indian Key Bridge.

"I said, 'Oh, that boat is doing doughnuts.' We didn't see anybody on the boat, and as soon as we noticed that, we pulled over and called 911," Stellway said.

Stellway said she saw people on four boats spring into action, pulling people from the water. One person from one of the other boats was able to jump on to the pilotless vessel and shut off the ignition.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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