4 involved in boating accident near Haulover Beach

4 men alive with just scrapes after being thrown out of boat

MIAMI - A day of fishing turned dangerous for four men maneuvering their boat through Haulover Inlet Monday afternoon. 

According to investigators, 33-year-old Juan Poci was operating the open fisherman-style boat against the current when it hit a strong wave. 

"Haulover Inlet is notoriously known for its rough waves," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Jorge Pino. 

"They were coming into the inlet, maybe a little fast, and they hit a wave, and next thing you know it pushed them into rocks," said a witness. 

Passenger Waldemar Bartet, 66, said the first wave flooded the boat and the second wave flipped it over, sending everyone into the water. 

In seconds, lifeguards who witnessed the boat overturning radioed in the incident, sending other lifeguards on jet skis out to the two men in the water. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers rescued the third man. 

But Officer Kathy Sullivan with Bay Harbor Island Marine Patrol spotted Bartet still in the water. Although he was wearing a lifejacket, he was struggling because he doesn't know how to swim. 

"I threw him a fender. That was the first thing I had. I threw him the fender and told him to calm down," Sullivan said. 

In seconds there was a problem -- a line got caught in her boat's engine.

"I lost an engine. At that point I was drifting into the rocks," she said. 

Acting quickly and on instinct, Sullivan was able to grab hold of Bartet and pull him up in one move. 

"I don't know where I got the strength but I pulled him up onto the boat and he was okay," she said. 

Hours later, crews with Fast Response Marine Salvage  flipped the banged up boat and towed to it shore. Waves knocked the console right off the boat's floor.

All four men walked away with just cuts and scrapes. 

Bartet said  he would be keeping the lifejacket as a reminder of why he's alive.

"He says he's keeping the life vest as a memory because it truly saved his life," said a woman who was translating Bartet.. 

"It's a miracle that we don't have anybody dead right now," Pino said. 

Investigators are looking into the cause of the crash. 

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