Boat crash victim had Tahoe ties
April 15, 2009
One of five people killed in a Florida boat crash this weekend had recently finished seasonal work for Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe, a resort spokesman confirmed on Thursday.
Santa Rosa native Olivia Carretero, 23, was killed when a 22-foot power boat she was riding in with 13 other people slammed into a docked tugboat on the Intercoastal Waterway at about 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Two longtime friends of Carretero ” Amanda Bartson, 22, and Jaimie Hole, 22 ” were on the boat at the time of the crash and had also worked at the resort this winter, resort spokesman Russ Pecoraro said.
Hole and Bartson survived the crash with unknown injuries.
The trio of friends moved from Santa Rosa near the start of the winter and worked for Heavenly Mountain Resort’s day care.
“Heavenly wants to pass along its sincerest condolences to the family of Olivia Carretero and we hope for the speedy recoveries of Jaimie Hole and Amanda Bartson,” Pecoraro said in a statement. “Although they only worked at Heavenly a short time, they made many friends here.”
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The crash ” which occurred near Palm Valley, about 25 miles southeast of Jacksonville ” has warranted a special investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board because of the seriousness of the accident, officials said Monday.
NTSB member Deborah A.P. Hersman said the agency doesn’t investigate many boating accidents, but that the number of deaths and injuries met the agency’s criteria for a serious accident that needed special attention.
“Our investigations are very comprehensive and we leave no stone unturned,” she said.
Joy Hill, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said investigators are looking at several factors including speed, capacity of the boat, lighting and whether people were drinking.
” Tribune reporter Adam Jensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies and paramedics had to scramble to find construction material to build a bridge to the victims on the pier under construction.
“They did this knowing time was critical and once medical treatment was given those patients, they would need to be brought off the crash site and on the makeshift dock,” Mulligan said.
Of the six victims being treated at Shands Jacksonville hospital, two were in critical condition Monday, one in serious and three in fair condition, officials said. Authorities have not said where the other three injured are being treated.
Debi Davis and her husband, Herb, who live nearby, watched as rescuers pulled the victims from a narrow section of the waterway.
“You could hear screaming as they pulled one woman out on a gurney board,” Davis said.
It was a clear evening when the power boat hit the 25-foot tug, and Davis said she was surprised by the amount of damage and the death toll.
“I don’t know how they could have missed it, the tug is hard to miss,” she said.
The five killed all died at the scene and were aboard the power boat, Hill said. In addition to Carretero, they were Jacqueline R. Allen, 44, of Jacksonville; Robert Trenton Craig, 23, of Jacksonville Beach; Elizabeth L. Rosenfeld, 20, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Inmaculada Pierce, 42, of Orange Park, Fla.