'Floatopia' event results in rescues, citations and arrests

PBSO says the event got 'out of hand'

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says there were dozens of rescue calls at "Floatopia" -- a floating party with thousands in attendance near Peanut Island on Sunday.

Aerial photos show the sandbar packed with people.

"Peanut Island was a madhouse," witness Kate Wentley said.

Wentley is a producer at WPTV and was boating with her family on Sunday when she saw a group of young people in the water.

"By the time we got close to them they started waving frantically and saying 'help me, help me,' " Wentley said.

Wentley and the other people on her boat got close to them and pulled them to safety.

"We had a couple of lifeguards in our party on the boat and they recognized that they were gasping and couldn't have held on much longer," Wentley said.



PHOTOS: Floatopia 2014 ( http://bit.ly/1i0k51O )

At one point, the ferry service to and from the island was shut.

That's when some college students jumped into the water and started swimming -- many becoming tired and caught in the current.

"There was a lot of underage drinking out there to enforce," Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Katie Wright said.

The party doesn't have one organizer and is spread on social media.

"The tides and currents are so strong out here that people don't understand. Add alcohol into that and it is just a dangerous situation," Wright said.

PBSO says it made three felony arrests, 1 arrest for boating under the influence, handed out 43 boating citations, 52 written warnings, and 92 verbal warnings. Deputies wrote three boat accident reports and conducted 56 boat safety inspections.

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