Henry Covington was enjoying a fall afternoon on King's Bay with his cousins, Maloy and Kim Kelly, when he spotted the hands waving frantically for help.
Help was badly needed, after a boat stuck a channel marker, ejecting two female passengers into the water, sending a third female tumbling to the floor between the center console of the vessel, according to one woman who was thrown into the water.
“We saw one young man already in the water swimming over to help,” said Maloy Kelly, who described the situation as “really not a good scene” telling the Chronicle “there was blood all over her face and all over the boat.”
Emergency personnel were called to Pete’s Pier at 4:11 p.m. in response to a boating accident, said Crystal River fire chief Brown “Jack” Dumas.
The city’s marine unit responded and were headed toward the accident when two separate good Samaritan boats came in carrying the injured boaters, Dumas said.
One boater was transported by ambulance to Bayfront Health Seven Rivers in Crystal River. The other was airlifted by helicopter to a regional hospital; however, officials would not provide that information.
“We just got in (the water) and we were going along when (David) slowed down,” said one of the women who was thrown into the water, but uninjured. Unwilling to provide her name, she was still visibly shaken after the incident. “All I heard was a crash.”
The other woman thrown into the water was her 64-year-old mother, the uninjured woman said.
After being thrown in the water, the daughter got her bearings straight and saw her mom, struggling to stay afloat and bleeding. Her mother has a bad back, she said, noting she knew her mom wouldn’t be able to swim back to the boat.
That’s when she began calling for help, flagging down nearby boaters.
“My mom definitely would have drowned if it wasn’t for the help we received,” she said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was called onto the scene. An FWC spokeswoman did not have information at press time. The investigation was ongoing, said Karen Parker, noting it could be up to 24 hours before details would be available.