Child recovering after being hit by jet ski in Clearwater

FWC searching for jet ski operator
Posted at 11:29 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 10:46:57-04

A Tampa family's trip to the beach turned dangerous Sunday night as a 1-year-old was rushed to the hospital. 

Alicia Contreras has been holding her baby a little tighter over the past two days. 

"I honestly thought God was taking my daughter at that moment," said Contreras. "When I saw that jet ski coming full speed over to her, I thought that was it.  I thought she was gone."

Contreras watched in panic as their jet ski, operated by a family friend, darted toward her two children playing along the shoreline of of the beach at the west-end of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. 

"All I could see was blood all over her face," said Contreras. 

Medics from Clearwater Fire & Rescue responded within minutes, rushing the girl to the hospital. 

The family is now thankful that Juliana only suffered minor injuries. 

Contreras told ABC Action News, a friend hit her child with the family's own jet ski.  

Witnesses say he was driving erratically, swerving in and out of the beach's no wake zone. 

Investigators with Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission are searching for the operator because he ran off after the collision. 

Contreras hopes their friend will come forward soon. 

"I'd just tell him don't be scared, it was an accident," said Contreras. "I know he didn't mean to do it."

According to FWC, the operator faces misdemeanor charges including fleeing accident resulting in injury and reckless operation.