TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The family of a man who drowned during a Miami booze cruise is speaking out, in hopes this doesn’t happen to another family.
According to NBC affiliate WTVJ, 20-year-old Enoch Tong and 11 other passengers took a so-called “booze cruise” on March 18, aboard the yacht Victoria to cruise around Biscayne Bay.
“Drinking alcohol was not only tolerated but it was encouraged. Enoch was only 20 years old that day,” Pedro Echarte, the family’s attorney said. “Not old enough to legally drink when he lost his life during that charter.”
According to the lawsuit, it is believed that Tong jumped off while the 65-foot yacht was being anchored, and got caught in a rip tide, struggling to stay above the surface.
“When they saw Enoch struggling, instead of a crew member putting on a life jacket, jumping in the water with a life jacket to give to Enoch, she took minutes to find a life ring,” Joshua Pardon, an attorney representing the Tong family said. “Instead of jumping with the life ring she threw the life ring in the water, five feet away from the boat.”
But by the time the life ring was thrown out, Tong was too far from the boat.
Echarte said that neither the captain nor the maiden warned the passengers of the hazardous water conditions that day.
The following day, officials found Tong’s body in the water south of Biscayne Bay.
Now, the family demands safety changes in the charter boat industry.
According to the lawsuit, the family believes Tong would have survived had the crew been properly trained and the boat equipped.
“He was very honorable. I know a lot of mothers and parents say how great their kids are but Enoch was a great child,” Mattie Bess, Tong’s mom, said. “We’re really going to miss him. I just hope this doesn’t have to happen to another family.”
According to WTVJ, the lawsuit seeks $50,000 in damages.