Boater allegedly involved in teen's death had 'no knowledge' of accident: Lawyer

Ella Adler, 15, had fallen while wakeboarding when struck by a boat, FWC said.

ByMeredith Deliso ABCNews logo
Friday, May 17, 2024
Ella Adler death: Boater sought after deadly boating accident in Nixon Beach near Miami, Florida
The victim -- 15-year-old Ella Adler of Miami Beach -- fell in the water while being towed when another vessel struck her on Saturday, authorities say

The boater accused of fatally striking a Florida teenager in a Miami-area bay over the weekend said he had "no knowledge" of the accident and is "devastated" to learn he may have been involved, his attorney said Thursday.

Ella Adler, 15, had fallen while wakeboarding near Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne on Saturday and was waiting for her vessel when another boat struck her and didn't stop, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

FWC said they seized a boat believed to be connected to the hit-and-run and identified the vessel's owner and operator on Wednesday as a 78-year-old Coral Gables resident. He is cooperating with the investigation, the FWC said. No charges have been announced in the case.

The man's attorney, Lauren Krasnoff, released a video statement on his behalf Thursday in response to "numerous" media inquiries.

"This is the worst possible tragedy and before saying anything else, we want to express our deepest sympathies to Ella Adler's family and friends," Krasnoff said.

"Because this is an ongoing investigation with which he is fully cooperating, he will not be making any statements to the media other than to say that he was beyond devastated to learn that he may have been involved in this awful tragedy," she continued.

Krasnoff said that the man is a "very experienced boater" who is familiar with the bay. He was boating by himself on Saturday and "has no knowledge whatsoever of having been involved in this accident," she said.

"If he hit Ella that day, he certainly did not know it," she said, adding that he "absolutely would have stopped" if he realized he had.

"He docked his boat in plain sight right behind his house, and did not even know there was an accident on the water that day until officers showed up at his door," she said.

Krasnoff said the boater does not drink and was not drinking on Saturday. He is "absolutely devastated by the loss of this intelligent, accomplished and beautiful young woman," she said.

Krasnoff said the operator of the boat will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation.

The FWC announced Tuesday it had found a boat matching the description given by witnesses of the striking vessel. The 42-foot Boston Whaler has been transported to an FWC evidence compound, the agency said.

FWC officers have called for anyone with information or footage to contact them.