2 bodies recovered after airboat crash in Cocoa, officials say

2 others make it safely to shore

COCOA, Fla. – Authorities said they recovered the bodies of two people in the waters near Lone Cabbage Fish Camp in Cocoa Sunday after an airboat crashed.

A witness, Donna Young, said the driver and a passenger, neither of whom were wearing life jackets, were being reckless and made a sharp turn when their boat overturned.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it received a call about 5 p.m. that a boat had taken on water and was beginning to sink in the St. Johns River.

The FWC said two people made it safely to shore while two did not.

FWC officials identified the two victims as Motilail Persaud, 71, of Kissimmee, and Richard Rocco, 84, or Orlando.

Young said she and her husband considered jumping in to help, but the victims got swept into the water so quickly that there was no way they could help.

"At first we were kind of like, 'Oh, they'll be alright,' but then they all started getting into panic mode and freaking out," Young said.

FWC officials and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office spent several hours Sunday night searching for the missing boaters.

The other two who made it to shore are doing OK, the FWC said.

"Its definitely not the turnout we like or expect," Chad Weber, with the FWC, said. "Boating, even though it's a recreation activity, can be dangerous. Just take precautions. You can't plan for every accident, but life jackets save lives, so wear a life jacket."

Weber did not say confirm whether the two men who were recovered were wearing life jackets. The  investigation into the crash continues.

About the Authors:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.