Airboats are one of the most common tourist attractions seen in the Florida Everglades, but can be dangerous, as seen over the weekend when a recent University of Miami graduate was killed in an airboat accident.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said an airboat with four passengers onboard stopped abruptly after avoiding another boat Saturday, sending everyone overboard. Elizabeth Goldenberg, 22, died in the crash.
Employees at Everglades River of Grass Adventures, the company that was involved in the accident, wouldn't pick up the phone when Local 10 News tried to get in touch with them about the crash and how these types of companies are regulated.
"There has to be a flag 10 feet above the water, you have to have fire extinguishers, life jackets, things like that. But as far as the actual operation of who's running the airboat -- very little regulation there," Jim Leljedal, of Sawgrass Recreation Airboat Tours, said.
Other than FWC safety checks, there isn't much oversight at all.
Leljedal works for the Sawgrass Recreation Park as an airboat captain and said the safety of passengers is really up to the company running the tour.
It's unclear why the boat stopped abruptly Saturday morning, but it could be related to relatively low water levels -- something Leljedal said is common for this time of year.
"When the water live is high, the airboat will just slide right over the grass, but if the water level is low and the boat slides into thick grass, it could cause it to tip over," he said.
According to people in the industry, accidents involving airboats usually happen when two boats actually collide.