Seven people, including one child, were hospitalized early Monday morning after the large center console boat they were aboard crashed into a Lower Keys bridge, Monroe County authorities said.

At 2 a.m., the Seahunter boat hit the South Pine Channel Bridge off Big Pine Key while “going at a high rate of speed,” and began taking on water, county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told Keys Weekly. 

Monroe County Fire Rescue made it to the crash scene before the vessel started sinking, though.

“They used ladders from the old bridge to get down to rescue all of the people prior to the vessel sinking,” Livengood said.

One child and one adult were airlifted to mainland hospitals on the county’s Trauma Star air ambulance. A third person was airlifted by another helicopter service from an airport hangar in Marathon. 

The rest of the boat’s occupants were transported to local hospitals. Conditions weren’t immediately available Monday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and the Towboat US boat towing service responded to the crash.

The Contender on Monday morning remained sunken at the bottom of the bridge.

FWC is currently investigating.

The overnight boat crash with multiple injuries follows a boating hit-and-run fatality reported Friday on the waters off the Lower Keys. A spearfisherman was struck and killed by a boat at 1:15 p.m. Friday off MM 39, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.

The 32-foot Contender involved was located later Friday after Keys law enforcement put the word out on social media.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the boat that crashed was a Contender. It is a Seahunter. Monroe County initially said the boat was a Contender but later Monday released a statement saying it was a Seahunter.

Gwen Filosa
Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.