KENANSVILLE, Fla. - Airboat tours at Wild Florida are up and running again after a crash that left 13 people injured last month, owner Sam Haught confirmed to FOX 35 News.
The incident happened August 14 when two airboats collided on Cypress Lake. Airboat tours have been suspended since that day.
There were 30 people onboard the airboat – 28 passengers and two operators, said a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Thirteen of them were transported to local hospitals and were all treated and released in the days after the crash.
At the time of the incident, Wild Florida issued the following statement:
"First, we would like to apologize to all visitors involved and pray for a speedy recovery for all injured parties. We are cooperating fully with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other state and local authorities as they conduct an official investigation of the incident. We are also conducting our own internal investigation to determine the cause of the incident. Wild Florida prides itself on not just having U.S. Coast Guard-approved airboats but also hiring licensed Master Captains who elevate our safety protocols. We also want to extend our added gratitude to the many Wild Florida staff members and rescue teams from Osceola County EMS, St. Cloud Fire Rescue, and the Osceola County Sheriff's Department for their swift response. At this time, all airboat activities at Wild Florida are suspended until further notice."
Wild Florida, an airboat and gator park, is located in Kenansville, about 40 miles south of Orlando.
The airboat tours give guests a chance to "trek through a nature preserve that’s home to a number of animals and plants that make up the Florida Everglades ecosystem" on U.S. Coast Guard-approved airboats in swamps, marshes and rivers, according to the park's website.
According to the FWC, there have been 55 commercial airboat incidents between 2007 and 2017, resulting in two deaths and 130 injuries. A review of accident reports shows these collisions occurred due to "excessive speed and the operator not maintaining a proper look-out/inattention."