Divers search Miami lagoon for missing personal watercraft rider

Authorities find personal watercraft, life jacket

MIAMI – A dive team searched Monday afternoon for a man who vanished while riding a personal watercraft in a body of water near Miami International Airport.

The search took place in a lake near Northwest Seventh Street and Blue Lagoon Drive. The water in the lagoon ranges from about three to 15 feet deep. 

Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said the 32-year-old man was in the lagoon with friends and didn't resurface after his WaveRunner went airborne.

"We did an extensive search of the lagoon area and, unfortunately, we still have not found this individual," Carroll said.

After more than an hour of searching, the rescue effort turned into a recovery effort, Carroll said.

Rick Rojo, who witnessed the crash, said the man was going "pretty fast" when he was thrown from the watercraft.

"It's almost like he hit something. I'm not sure," Rojo said. "The (WaveRunner) almost came to a full stop and he just catapulted over it, landed head first, feet in the air."

Authorities later found the watercraft and a life jacket that is believed to have belonged to the victim.

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