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Unmanned boat circles out of control, crashes into 2 docks, goes airborne in Stuart

Posted at 11:42 AM, Oct 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-11 11:42:42-04

STUART, Fla. — An unmanned boat circled out of control Friday in the St. Lucie River before smashing into two docks and going airborne.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office says three men were reportedly doing a photo shoot and somehow all fell overboard, leaving the 24-foot vessel unmanned.

"It was about 300 yards up towards the bridge I believe when they got ejected," said Don Hamilton, who witnessed the crash.

The three occupants told MCSO Marine Deputies that they were forced to dive underwater numerous times as the boat continued to circle around them, nearly running them over.

The boat eventually straightened itself out and traveled at a high rate of speed into a concrete dock near the 1500 block of St. Lucie Boulevard, sending it airborne before hitting a second dock and coming to rest on the beach.

"It was quite loud," said Hamilton. "As soon as it did hit and get up, as the engine was coming across, I was worried about the prop coming off and I kind of ducked at that moment."

The men who fell off the boat were able to swim to a nearby sailboat. One of them suffered minor injuries.

"The boat had quite a large hole in the front and the bow, it was beat up pretty bad up there," said Hamilton.

FWC has taken over the investigation into the cause of the incident.