- As many as 12 injured boaters were taken to local hospitals, state official says
- The incident took place near a marina in Biscayne Bay late on July 4th
- An official says boats may have been rushing to get back to the boat ramp
- 2 died Friday night at a hospital; 2 more dead were found in the water Saturday, he adds
An Independence Day celebration ended in tragedy when three boats collided near a Miami marina, killing four people and injuring as many as a dozen more, authorities said.
The accident happened near the Dinner Key Marina in Biscayne Bay around 10:45 p.m. Friday following a fireworks display, as a crowd of boaters was making their way back to shore.
"One vessel crashed into another, then that vessel hit a third," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Jorge Pino said Saturday.
Pino said up to five people were thrown into the water after the crash and as many as 12 were transported to local hospitals. Those hurt include several children with minor injuries.
Two victims died at a hospital Friday night, he said, and two more deceased victims were found in the water Saturday morning.
One person is hospitalized in critical condition, according to Pino.
Afterward, at least one of the boats towed back to shore had a gaping hole in its side.
"It's possible that these boats were rushing to get back to the boat ramp to get out of the water," Pino said.
The commission is investigating the tragedy and has not yet released the names or ages of any of the victims.