FWC: 2 dead as personal watercraft collides with tour boat in Intracoastal Waterway off Clearwater

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Two people are dead after a personal watercraft and tour boat collided in the Intracoastal Waterway off Clearwater on Saturday.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission spokesperson Baryl Martin, a 50-year-old male and a 49-year-old female on the personal watercraft were killed in the collision in the area of Mile Marker 7, near the Memorial Causeway.

Officials and witnesses at the scene said two personal watercrafts were riding together when they decided to try to cut in front of the tour boat operated by The Tropics Boat Tours of Clearwater.

One personal watercraft made it safely past the boat, but the second, with Ramana Godabiraju, 50, and Shubhada Kulkami, 49, both of Lower Gwnyedd, Pa., on board, collided with the boat around 6:10 p.m.

No other injuries were reported. The personal watercraft had been rented, Martin said.

The tour boat was held in FWC custody overnight in order for investigators to photograph the boat in better light Sunday.

Martin said an official cause of the crash has not been determined until the investigation has concluded.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by FWC, in conjunction with the US Coast Guard. Clearwater Police and Fire assisted with the incident.

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