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As Bad as it can get.

Old 06-02-2010, 01:32 PM
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The family & I were out boating no more than 100yds from where this tradegy happened, only two days before. This area gets wild, "disappearing Island" is a sand bar that fills with 100s of boaters during the holidays. It's nuts!!!! We were in by 07:00, fished until 11:00 then out we came.


Boating accident 'as bad as it could get'
By MARK I. JOHNSON and PATRICIO G. BALONA, Staff writers
June 2, 2010 12:05 AM 27 Comments Vote 0 Votes Posted in: Tagged:



Madison Holley

N-J | Octavio Diaz and Peter Bauer
As survivors of three generations of a DeLand-area family killed in a Memorial Day boating accident dealt with the tragedy, law enforcement officials Tuesday continued efforts to sort out what happened.
Cyril J. "C.J." Holley Jr., 46, and his 19-year-old daughter, Madison Holley, who was nine-months pregnant, died when a 25-foot cabin cruiser landed on and drove over the fishing skiff they were on. Madison Holley's unborn child also died.
Paige Holley, 45, wife and mother of those killed, was injured. Jennifer Minotti, 14, on the boat with the Holleys, also was hurt in the accident shortly before 4 p.m. They were treated and released from Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, hospital officials said.
Law enforcement officials called the accident "as bad as it could get."
Both the 18-foot Sundance center console carrying seven -- including the two people killed and two injured -- and the 25-foot Chaparral, with six aboard, were accelerating as they went from a slow-speed zone to a 30 mph stretch of water, said Investigator Kevin McKinney of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The impact peeled fiberglass off the bow of the cabin cruiser. The smaller boat's outboard motor and console were crushed by the weight of the larger vessel, focusing the brunt of the impact on whoever was piloting the skiff.
A 9-1-1 call from a boater revealed a chaotic situation. The caller and others in the background panicked as people were pulled from the water. The Coast Guard station was in view, the caller said, but their boat wouldn't start.
"The pregnant girl got thrown out of the boat and she's cut really bad," the caller said. "We can't get to the Coast Guard."
Family and friends of the Holleys could not be reached by phone or during a visit Tuesday to the family's Hontoon Road home.
Madison Holley was a 2009 DeLand High School graduate. She was a cheerleader there. Messages trickled into her Facebook page Tuesday. They offered condolences to the Holley family and for "baby Carter."
Paige Holley worked in advertising for the News-Journal Corp. from 2001 to this past March. Friends would not talk about the tragedy or the family Tuesday.
The Rev. Thomas Connery, pastor of St. Peter's Catholic Church in DeLand where the family regularly attended Sunday services, recalled C.J. Holley's generosity.
"One thing that I will always remember about him is how he helped at Christmastime with a dinner I had for those people who were alone at Christmas."
Joy Hill, a spokeswoman for the wildlife commission, said the investigation continues.
What is known so far is the Holleys and members of their party were running ahead of the larger Chaparral, which had other family members and friends of theirs aboard. Both vessels were headed north coming out of a manatee-no wake zone almost directly adjacent from Coast Guard Station Ponce de Leon Inlet in the Intracoastal Waterway.
"This occurred in a transition area where boats heading north are beginning to power up and increase their speed, and boats heading south are powering down and decreasing their speed. There can be considerable boat traffic, and both actions create wakes in a generally congested area," McKinney said. "A wake from another vessel may be a contributing factor, but it's too early in the investigation to say."
Coast Guard officials said based on aerial photographs of the area, just south of a popular boating spot known as Disappearing Island, there could have been as many as 1,000 boats at the island or near it during the day. The spoil island at the confluence of the inlet, the Intracoastal and other waterways is dry only at low tide. There is often heavy weekend boat traffic, particularly during holidays.
Mike Nelson, who operates a seagoing ice cream stand on the island, did not witness the collision but could see the commotion it caused.
"I saw one boat and it was almost sunk," he said.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Karl Lippack, one of the first responders on the scene, said such situations require greater operator awareness from the person captaining a watercraft.
"You have to be aware of your surroundings," he said.
Investigator McKinney said there is no reason to believe drugs or alcohol were contributors.
"This is a tragic accident, and it will take time for us to thoroughly investigate what happened," McKinney said. "There are a lot of factors to consider."
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:47 PM
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i dont understand...they were both exiting the inlet and heading out?
how did they collide? did the chapparal just overtake the sundance and run them over?
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:50 PM
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Horribly sad My heart goes out to the surviving family members & all who were involved. May we all keep them in our prayers.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cgrand View Post
i dont understand...they were both exiting the inlet and heading out?
how did they collide? did the chapparal just overtake the sundance and run them over?

Sounds possible...think about it. Throttling up, boat loaded with people & stuff...bow way up high as the boat begins to get up on a plane. Can be difficult to see directly in front of a boat in this situation. Perhaps the sun was another factor, glare off the water coupled with high bow, etc.

Maybe the person at the wheel got distracted for a brief moment, with six people on board, who knows. No matter what, it's a terrible loss of life, and something family & friends involved will be haunted with the rest of their lives.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:05 PM
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This is what I have heard so far about "How" the accident happened.
All 13 folks on board both boats, a small 18ft with 6 folks aboard and a 25 ft chapparel with 7 folks aboard. all folks are related. The story goes that the smaller boat was in front followed closely, (25ft or less) by the larger boat. As the smaller boat went to throttle up, a large 3-4ft swell hit them that basically stoped them in their tracks. At the exact same time the chapparel powered up and was undaunted by that swell and by the time the captain realized it he was running directly over the top of the other boat with all his realatives in it. I have heard from second and third hand accounts that the girl was basically cut in two, very very sad.

I posted this to remind everyone that boats are dangerous if we are not paying attention every second we're out there, please by safe.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:37 PM
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Takes my breath away ... how awful.

I remember watching Chaparral boats on Deep Creek Lake when I was younger throttling up ... the nose would go way up ... seemed like a 40 degree angle and would stay that way as the speed slowly increased and the nose slowly dropped. They might have designed this quality out of the boats a long time ago ... or it could have been a factor.

I'm so sorry for the family.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:58 PM
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What a terrible tragedy.
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