Officials meet to discuss 4th of July boat crash - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Officials meet to discuss 4th of July boat crash

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From left: Kelsie Karpiak, Andrew Garcia, Victoria Dempsey. From left: Kelsie Karpiak, Andrew Garcia, Victoria Dempsey.
23-year-old Jason Soleimani 23-year-old Jason Soleimani
City of Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp City of Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp
COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) -- City of Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp addressed the Miami City Commission about the fire department's response time to the Fourth of July boating accident that claimed four lives and critically injured two.

During the commission meeting Thursday morning, Kemp gave a five-minute presentation where he played the frantic radio calls from the night of the accident.

In the 911 call, a boater is heard saying, "We have a serious collision out here. There was a collision here, and the boat is now breaking apart." He then continues, "Mayday, Coast Guard. The child doesn't have a pulse. I'm going to shoot up a flare."

Kemp told commissioners Fire Boat One responded in seven minutes. He then described what they saw upon arrival. "Units from the Coast Guard, Sea Tow, Atlantis Towing, amongst others were already on the scene, providing aid and searching for victims," said Kemp.

Kemp said the tragedy united multiple agencies, more than 100 emergency officials and civilians, to help aid the victims involved. However, the lives of 23-year-old Andrew Garcia, 20-year-old Victoria Dempsey, 24-year-old Kelsie Karpiak and 23-year-old Jason Soleimani were all lost.

The bodies of Dempsey and Garcia were not recovered until the next morning. "Agencies whose principle job is to search were searching throughout the night," said Kemp.

Chief Kemp said they cleared the scene around 2 a.m. "At that time, it was our understanding that there were no people unaccounted for, and as I said, our primary mission was treatment and transport."

Kemp said they did not know two bodies were still missing until hours later. "I got the call that morning and was told my resources had redeployed, and I told them, 'Whatever is necessary.'"

While some may question whether they did what was necessary, Kemp said the department did everything it could. He offered his condolences to the victims' families and said his goal is to work with other agencies to improve the emergency response time on the water. "What we are going to do is meet with all of the agencies. We are going to have an after-action meeting where we talk about how we can do it better. There's always things you can do better, so our goal would be to meet, to plan and to train to that plan."

A meeting has not yet been scheduled.

Garcia's funeral was held Thursday afternoon at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in Palmetto Bay.
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