05/18/2024

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Ella Adler (Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapels and Cemeteries) and the area where she had been water skiing when she was fatally struck by a boat that did not stop (WPLG/YouTube screenshot)

‘Vessel of interest’ seized in boat collision that killed 15-year-old while water-skiing

Ella Adler (Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapels and Cemeteries) and the area where she had been water skiing when she was fatally struck by a boat that did not stop (WPLG/YouTube screenshot).

Law enforcement authorities in Florida on Tuesday announced they have identified and located a “vessel of interest” in connection with the death of 15-year-old Ella Adler, who was struck and killed while water-skiing with friends in Miami over the weekend. The individual driving the boat that allegedly struck Adler did not stop following the fatal collision.

According to a news release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), officers at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, responded to a call regarding a boating incident in Biscayne Bay near Nixon Beach Sandbar in Miami-Dade County.

Following a preliminary investigation, authorities said that Adler, a Miami Beach native, had been water-skiing with friends about one mile off the coast when she fell into the water while being towed. As she was waiting for her boat to circle around and pick her up, another boat then drove by and struck Adler, who died from her injuries.

While investigators said it was not immediately clear if the driver of the other boat was aware that they had struck someone in the water, authorities immediately began a search for the vessel. A reward of up to $20,000 had been offered for information leading to the identification of the boat that killed Adler, with those funds coming from her family, Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, and the FWC.

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    Authorities on Tuesday announced that the vessel believed to be involved in the collision, described as a 30- to 40-foot multi-engine center-console boat with a dark blue bottom and light blue hull, had been seized and the owner of the vessel was said to be cooperating with investigators.

    The FWC said the investigation into Adler’s death and the identification of the boat believed to have killed her was the result of a multiagency effort.

    “The FWC and its officers have called in additional resources from other parts of the state and have worked around the clock to find the vessel involved in the accident. I am pleased to report that we have a vessel in custody that matches the description given by witnesses and the investigation is ongoing,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a statement Tuesday. “As a father and grandfather, my heart is broken for the Adler family. Ella’s death is devastating for her family, friends and the community at large. The FWC and our partner law enforcement agencies will not stop until we have all the answers and the case is solved.”

    Despite “significant progress” being made in the case, FWC is urging anyone who may have witnessed or filmed the accident to come forward immediately and contact authorities at 888-404-3922 or Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

    Adler’s family on Tuesday issued the statement through their attorney Etan Mark:

    “The world lost a star this weekend. Ella was beautiful and shined brightly. In her 15 years she gave us more light than we could have ever dreamed. While we cope with this unspeakable tragedy, we ask the public to give us our privacy as we mourn.”

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