Key Biscayne residents, leader fight against sandbar dangers

Published On: May 12 2014 06:11:08 PM EDT
Updated On: May 13 2014 10:20:36 AM EDT

Awareness is being raised on the dangers of sandbars after the recent death of a young man who was pulled into the propeller of a boat while trying to push it off a sandbar.

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -

Key Biscayne's police chief was part of a multi-agency patrol last week when a 23-year-old man was killed while pushing a celebrity DJ’s boat off a sandbar. Many people don’t know the tragedy was especially personal to him.

"When I was not able to protect my own daughter in what is Key Biscayne's backyard, it became a point of pain and frustration that I can't even begin to tell you," said Charles Press, Key Biscayne's police chief.

Danielle Press was severely injured after a boat propeller severed flesh, muscle and nerve last fall. She arrived at the hospital with few vital signs.

Now residents and Key Biscayne leaders are demanding a stop to dangerous, alcohol-fueled party crowds, on and off the flats and sandbars.

More than 120 incidents have occurred in the last two years. Records show that some of those incidents resulted in deaths.

"If we can put an end to drinking and boating -- you know unfortunately there are no 'Mothers Against Drunk Boating' --  that would probably stop a lot of what's going on out here," said Melissa White, a Key Biscayne resident.

The push is on for a moratorium of sorts in the murky jurisdictional boundaries that converge on the flats.

"We can't do it without the state," said Press. "State is a major and the major stakeholder in this and lives are at stake."

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