Yacht crew pops balloons and throws them into Florida bay
COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) — Members of a yacht crew have been caught on camera illegally jumping and throwing party balloons into a bay in South Florida. Now the man who chartered the ship is facing charges and more than $22,000 in fines.
Cellphone video making the rounds on social media caught the crew of the chartered yacht popping balloons and dropping them into Biscayne Bay near Bayshore Landing Marina in Coconut Grove.
David Torres-Bocanegra, the 29-year-old who claims to have chartered the boat, is speaking out on social media saying it wasn’t his fault.
He says the group was ordered to remove the balloons, which were tied to the front of the boat, as they were not allowed out to sea.
“And I was like OK, cool. No problem. You know, take them off, whatever,” Torres-Bocanegra said. “I just really want to put my heart out and say…how I think it’s so important to take care of our environment and things like this definitely need to be addressed.”
But the way the crew removed those balloons – by simply popping them and throwing them in the water – angered fellow boaters.
Esteban Bruna filmed the incident and posted the video online.
” The people are crazy. I was mad. I’m glad I could post [the video]“Bruna said.
JP Ortega, who organizes an eco-tour out of the marina, also filmed the balloons on the yacht. He said he knew they would end up in the ocean, but he thought it would be unintentional. He was surprised to see people throwing them directly into the water.
“It was really frustrating to see someone with that kind of ignorance,” Ortega said. “[There is] lots of wildlife here. [Balloons] take thousands of years to disappear. It doesn’t even disappear. It becomes micro parts.
Other boaters tried to scoop the balloons out of the water and clean up what they could.
“We remove trash from the bay all the time,” David Furer said. “And here we have people deliberately, you know, popping balloons and throwing them in the water. So that made us angry.
The video caught the attention of the Miami-Dade Police Department, which came to the site to investigate the illegal dumping.
Torres-Bocanegra faces charges of reckless disregard for the environment. He received nine citations totaling more than $22,000.
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