Yacht captain arrested in boating death off coast of Miami Beach

Passenger was killed after being struck by boat's propellers, authorities say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The sleek, 91-foot yacht called Miami Vice was chartered for a four-hour day of fun on the water April 1, but the trip to Monument Island took a tragic turn when a passenger was struck and killed by one of the yacht's giant propellers, investigators said. 

Now the captain, 49-year-old Mauricio Alvarez, is facing federal charges.

Federal authorities reportedly caught up Alvarez at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday as he attempted to catch a flight out of the country.

File: Criminal complaint against Mauricio Alvarez

According to authorities: "Alvarez could not see the stern of the vessel or ensure the safety of the remaining swimmers in the water."

So when he reportedly put the yacht's engines in reverse, he likely didn't see 25-year-old Raul Menendez, who was still swimming with one other passenger.

Menendez was killed when he was struck by the propellers. His remains were recovered a day later. No other passengers, who paid $3,000 to charter the yacht, were injured. 

Local 10 spoke to a man who identified himself as the owner of the Miami Vice and called it all a terrible accident. The owner told Local 10 that Alvarez did have a captain's license, but federal prosecutors say he did not "have a United States captain license at the time of the incident."

Alvarez is charged with misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual.

He faces a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison if he is convicted. 

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