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Boater Charged for Running over SCUBA Diver Near the Boca Inlet

February 16, 2011 Scuba Diving Accident Injury & Death

The Orlando Sentinel reports a Highland Beach boater has been charged with negligence and careless operation after his motorboat struck and injured a scuba diver near the Boca Inlet on January 22, 2011.

Jon Berger, 64, was operating a twenty-eight foot Sea Fox powerboat when the accident happened. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the propeller of the boat cut scuba diver James Shelley, 46, as he surfaced from a dive. Shelley was taken in critical condition to Delray Medical Center and was released days later.

Berger was also cited for failing to stay at least 300 feet away from a diver down flag and faces up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines if convicted of culpable negligence.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports between 2004 and 2009, 22 scuba divers in Florida were injured or killed from boat run overs.