Thirty Rescued After Party Boat Sinks Near Key Biscayne

Thirty weekend revelers and a dog were pulled from the waters off Miami yesterday after a catamaran they were on began taking on water and capsized. There are no reports of death or serious injuries, but the rescue effort was intense, and the unlicensed captain might face charges.

There's speculation that the boat's owner and operator might have been charging up to $20 per person to shuttle revelers between Key Biscayne and a party on Nixon Beach during the busy Columbus Day Regatta weekend.

"The captain was not licensed, so he shouldn't have been operating the boat," Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told Local 10. "He shouldn't have been taking money from passengers to transport them anywhere."

Sometime late yesterday afternoon, the boat begin taking on water. All 30 passengers and the dog ended up in the water.

"When I arrived on scene, there was two to three feet of the vessel still above the water line, and immediately I was grabbing people out of the water," Lt. Michael Cortes, the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard's Miami Beach post, told NBC Miami.

Several agencies and private boaters assisted in the rescue effort. The rescued were taken to the Four Ambassadors Suites Hotel for medical attention.

Authorities are still investigating the incident. Meanwhile, the boat remains submerged.

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