DUNEDIN — According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, an accident involving a jet ski and a boat occurred Saturday morning near the Dunedin Causeway.
Reports state the vessels crashed near 62 Dunedin Causeway at approximately 11:24 a.m., May 1.
Deputies assigned to the sheriff's office Marine Unit report that 56-year-old David Steffano was operating a 28-foot 2021 Chaparral Bowrider with five passengers on board and traveling eastbound alongside the causeway. Steffano told deputies he observed a personal watercraft traveling at a high rate of speed from the south to the north. He described the craft, a 2013 Sea-Doo jet ski, as having a non-constant bearing and believed that it would travel behind his vessel.
Because of heavy water traffic, Steffano told deputies he diverted his attention to the port side of his vessel. At this time, reports state, the jet ski struck the rear of his vessel, throwing the jet ski rider, 43-year-old Jose Rivera-Reyes, into the water.
Steffano said he immediately stopped his vessel, assisted getting Rivera-Reyes out of the water and called 911.
Both vessels and all occupants were brought to the closest boat ramp at 343 Causeway Boulevard.
Responding deputies and paramedics provided assistance at the boat ramp and Rivera-Reyes was transported to Mease Hospital in Dunedin with life-threatening injuries.
No passengers on the Chaparral Bowrider were injured, reports state.
Deputies believe speed appears to be a factor in the crash and the investigation continues.