Miami Beach nightlife mogul passed out before boat crash, report says

Report says blackout may be related to previous brain surgeries

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Liane Morejon - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - More information has been released in the boat crash that injured a South Florida nightlife executive and his girlfriend.

According to an incident report, the 25-foot Chris Craft Michael Capponi, 42, and his girlfriend, Brooke Biederman, 23, were riding in crashed shortly before 10 a.m. March 20 at the U.S. Coast Guard station near the MacArthur Causeway.

Capponi told Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials that he was heading to a business meeting when he suddenly blacked out.

He said he remembered traveling north on the Melloy Channel, but didn't remember the impact of the crash.

"I remember laying down and looking up and on the seawall there's a bunch of Coast Guard guys and they're like, 'Hey, hey, you OK?'" Capponi said.

According to the FWC report, Capponi's girlfriend rushed to help him and didn't put the boat in neutral. Video shows the boat make a sharp turn and crash into the seawall.

Capponi suffered broken ribs, a shoulder fracture, skull fracture and bruising throughout his body. Biederman suffered a brain injury and is in New York with her family undergoing rehabilitation.

Investigators said Capponi and Biederman were not wearing life jackets. Kill switches or safety lanyards are mandatory on personal watercrafts, but optional on a boat like the one in question.

Neither victim was cited in the crash, which authorities deemed to be caused by "an unfortunate and overwhelming medical condition."

The FWC report also said the blackout could have been related to three previous brain surgeries that Capponi had undergone, or a "current but separate health issue."

No alcohol or drugs were found in the couple's systems, aside from the medication given to them at the hospital.

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