Freak Airboat Accident Claims the Life of 22-Year UM Graduate

UM graduate was trying celebrate her achievements by taking an airboat ride in Miami Dade which resulted in her death.
What was supposed to be a graduation celebration turned out to be a fatal tragedy. Elizabeth “Ellie” Goldenberg, 22, had just graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in musical theater on May 12, 2017. She was a “top-notch honors student in her acting class” and was “popular with the school’s Ring Theatre crowd” according to the Miami Herald. She also was actively involved in a campus Jewish organization. On May 13, 2017, Goldenberg decided to celebrate her accomplishments with her family by going on an airboat excursion with the company River of Grass Adventures. She didn’t make it back from the airboat ride.

What Caused the Airboat Accident to Transpire?

While Goldenberg and her family were riding through state waters north of Tamiami Trail, the airboat came to an abrupt stop when it encountered a broken-down airboat that was blocking their path. The stop caused the airboat the Goldenberg’s’ were riding on to flip. Ellie Goldenberg was “thrown and pinned under its engine cage in shallow water.” Sadly, she drowned. Her sister did sustain injuries, however, they weren’t severe. The boat operator along with Goldenberg’s parents were fortunate to have escaped sustaining any sort of injuries. Now, rather than basking in the joy and pride that comes along with watching a child graduate college, the family is mourning over the loss of their talented and successful daughter.

Can the Family File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Commercial air boating has remained unregulated for many years, although companies who operate these boats do have certain laws they must abide by. The laws are similar to that of the average boater and while the airboats do need to be registered, some operators might be inexperienced. Airboat drivers aren’t required to take any tests or undergo any background checks. Insurance isn’t always required either which makes the ride a risk. While some companies do require their drivers to take training courses and become familiar with the area, other companies aren’t taking the initiative to do so.
Whether the family is going to hire a local Miami Dade accident attorney, that hasn’t been confirmed, but if the company isn’t carrying any sort of liability insurance, they could be facing a heavy lawsuit for the wrongful death of Goldenberg.

How Can I Stay Safe on an Airboat Ride?

While there are reported airboat accidents that transpire, this is unlike any other according to other company owners. Sometimes accident do arise but they usually just result in minor injuries if any as the boats aren’t traveling at high speeds and the waters are generally shallow.
While this accident is being viewed as a “freak accident”, if you are considering taking an airboat ride, there are some ways you can be prepared by choosing an established company.  There are certain safety guidelines the airboat operator should be following according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and some of these include:

  • Being aware of anything that might come in contact with the propeller. Objects and other debris can sometimes fly up and hit passengers.
  • Provide or inform riders that they need protective eye wear and protection for their ears.
  • The operator should have all the necessary safety equipment on board including a first aid kit.
  • Operators should be cognizant of the weather and ensure it is safe for them to take riders out.

If you are ever involved in any type of accident in Miami Dade and need legal aid to help determine if you have a viable claim on your hands, find an accident lawyer in Miami Dade with the help USAttorneys.com can offer.

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