Water scooter passenger killed after pilot strikes slow sign

Posted: 03/16/2012 in all marine news

Danny Valentine –

A 40-year-old Indian Rocks Beach man who died while riding a personal watercraft Saturday night crashed and fell into the water after the driver hit a slow sign, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman said. Victor Vazquez was a passenger on a watercraft piloted by Robert W. Turnbull, 34, also of Indian Rocks Beach.

At about 8:30 p.m., Turnbull struck a slow sign in the Intracoastal Waterway just north of the Belleair Causeway, according to spokesman Gary Morse. Both were thrown from the craft.

Turnbull found Vazquez unconscious after the crash and headed to shore. Efforts to revive him failed.

Turnbull sustained minor injuries. Both men were wearing life jackets.

The two were riding on a water scooter well after the sun had gone down — which is prohibited by state law.

Florida law prohibits piloting a personal watercraft from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise.

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