A manager from a leading research laboratory in New Mexico was vacationing in Florida with her nephew for Thanksgiving when tragedy struck. According to ABC News, Nina Poppelsdorf drowned when a large wave came toward the diving boat where she was located and tipped the entire catamaran over. Reports say that the diving boat was about 45-feet long. The scene of the death was near Pompano Beach in Florida. Along with Poppelsdorf, there were about two-dozen other diving enthusiasts on the boat when it capsized. Many of them were hurt in the accident. The passengers in the boat were on their way back to port after a diving excursion when the terrible tragedy occurred.
All victims of the incident were rushed to the hospital. Nina Poppelsdorf died shortly upon arrival. According to witnesses on the shore, the 45-foot catamaran that was named the Coral Princess was approaching the Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach when a massive wave curled towards it. When the wave hit the boat, it sent the craft flying. The Coral Princess flipped over, and all of the occupants fell into the water.
Witnesses interviewed by ABC say that it was incredibly windy near Pompano Beach on Thanksgiving, and they could see the large waves rolling in. The Coral Princess was having difficulty navigating the wild sea as the crew tried to steer the boat back to it's place on the dock. The wave that capsized the boat was tall enough send water streaming into one side of the watercraft. This caused the balance to shift and the boat responded by flipping over. In addition to so many divers, there were two crew members that were employed by the diving company were present on the watercraft at the time.
People believe that Poppelsdorf was killed after she was trapped underneath the large boat and was not able to maneuver herself from under the flipped hull to come up and get air. Many of the passengers who were injured when the boat capsized were able to climb out of the water and onto the overturned hull of the boat. They sat there until rescue teams were able to get everyone out of the water. Most rescue teams were able to put the victims on wave runners or into rescue boats, while beachgoers who saw the accident from the shore called 911.
Bob Casey, a sea tow dispatcher, says that he started pulling victims out of the water immediately upon arriving at the scene of the accident. The survivors have been questioned about the incident, and the investigators have determined that the boat was not over its capacity. Still, investigators are trying to determine how a single wave could have created the accident that caused the death of a middle-aged woman and wounded so many others.
Nina Poppelsdorf will be missed in the Sandia Park community where she used to work as well as at her laboratory where she worked on federal research. She was the senior manager of the radiation protection, industrial hygiene and safety center at the Sandia National Laboratories. She had been working in this position for almost 10 years. The United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety says that last year there were 316 instances when a boat capsized and 4588 accidents involving boats throughout the year. 336 vessels were involved in these capsizing accidents, and they led to 147 drowning deaths.
16 people died after a boat capsized from other related cases, meaning that there were 163 deaths from these accidents last year alone. The USCG Office of Boating Safety says that 3,081 people were injured in boating accidents and the total damages amounted to $52,198,658. 228 of these people were injured in capsizing accidents alone and there were about $870,616 worth of damage from these accidents. Don’t hesitate to call a personal injury attorney at our firm today for more information about litigation in a boating accident!