News Releases

FWC investigates tragic boat accident in Volusia County

News Release

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426; or Officer Lenny Salberg, 352-427-6728

A father and daughter, and her unborn child died Monday from injuries they received in a tragic boating accident in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) near Ponce Inlet in Volusia County. Two others were injured and admitted to Bert Fish Memorial Hospital in New Smyrna Beach.

Killed were Cyril J. Holley Jr., 46 (DOB 10/09/63), and Madison Holley, 19 (DOB 03/25/91), and her unborn child. Jennifer Minotti, 14, and Helen Paige Holley, 45 (DOB 03/26/65), who is the wife and mother of the deceased, were injured. All are from Deland.

Law enforcement officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are investigating the accident, which occurred around 4 p.m. Monday in the ICW just west of the Coast Guard Station at Ponce Inlet. It involved an 18-foot, 2006 Sundance outboard-motor boat and a 25-foot, 1989 Chaparral inboard, outboard-motor boat. There were seven people on the Sundance and six on the Chaparral. Neither boat was overloaded.

Both vessels were traveling north and had just entered a safe speed zone from a slow speed zone at the time of the crash. Witnesses report that the Chaparral ran up and over the smaller Sundance. All of the people killed or injured were in the Sundance.

Slow speed means minimum wake with the boat settled in the water going slowly, slightly more than an idle. Safe speed in that area is 30 mph during the day and 25 mph at night.

"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," said FWC Investigator Kevin McKinney. "A wake from another vessel may be a contributing factor, but it's too early in the investigation to say."

The people involved in the accident were either friends or family, all visiting the New Smyrna Beach vacation home of one of those in the group. They were traveling together on the two boats, headed from the vacation home to recreate on Disappearing Island when the boats crashed. Disappearing Island is located about a half mile north of the Coast Guard Station in the ICW and is a popular recreation area for boaters.

The FWC will be interviewing several people who witnessed the accident but were not involved.

"This is a tragic accident, and it will take time for us to thoroughly investigate what happened. There are a lot of factors to consider; however, we have no reason to believe drugs or alcohol is involved," McKinney said.

FWC Facts:
Newborn sharks are called pups.

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