Details emerge in sailing fatality

Editor & Publisher

The Sarasota community grappled with the sad news of a young Sailing Squadron student losing his life last Saturday in a boating accident beside the Ringling Bridge.

The death of 12-year-old Ethan Isaacs brought waves of sadness through the Pine View School Community where he was a 6th grader, through the Sailing Squadron community where Isaacs was receiving instruction when the accident occurred and most devastatingly to his family and mother who was waiting for him on City Island to finish his sailing class.

By Nov. 25, a more detailed report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) brought to light the events of the morning.

The state investigation said that the Youth Sailing Squadron was receiving instruction and assistance from an 18-year-old man who was in a 20-foot powerboat. It is unclear whether a wave from the 10-12 mph winds, or from a wake emanating from a boat, caused the captain to lose his footing and fall and in the process putting his vessel in gear.

Next, the instructor was ejected from the boat as his vessel surged forward unmanned and struck several of the 8-foot sailboats that were being used by the youth sailors. Several of the students were frantically swimming in the water beneath the John Ringling Bridge and bystanders quickly attempted to help. Sadly, Isaacs received a severe injury from the boat.

Isaacs was transported from the scene via ambulance.

Pine View School offered grief counseling and spoke with students the following day. The Sarasota Youth Sailing Squadron issued a statement the following day after the accident offering, “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of the Green Fleet Sailor who was involved in Saturday’s tragedy.”

Sarasota Youth Sailing Club is a non-profit that was founded more than 50 years ago. The group has offered sailing lessons to children 5 years-old and up for decades. It practices out of its headquarters at 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island. The non-profit has about 400 students who can be seen on any given day in the bay just offshore of City Island.

The FWC is hoping anyone who witnessed the event or has any information to call its hotline at 1-888-404-3922.

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2 Responses for “Details emerge in sailing fatality”

  1. Joe says:

    Very sad.

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