Boaters were forced to jump overboard. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
It was a close call for the group of boaters when a Jupiter drawbridge started moving, partially crushing their pontoon and sending some jumping overboard in fear.
“I think they were trying to move the boat but the bridge ended up folding in on them and they couldn’t move,” said Gillian Pisciotto, who witnessed the incident.
The young woman captured the now-viral footage and said she was just relieved the group walked away unscathed.
“Well, I started yelling at them to move. I thought not everyone was going to make it,” Pisciotto said.
It remains unclear what the boaters were doing below deck.
But instead of passing under the main channel, it appears the group stopped under a portion of the bridge close to the intercoastal waterway.
There are clearly marked signs, “UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL PROHIBITED” and “DANGER MACHINERY IN MOVEMENT”.
The Cato Bridge is operated by Palm Beach County.
WPEC contacted the county’s Department of Public Works to see if there were any cameras under the bridge that the on-duty tender could have checked before raising the bridge. A spokesperson said there were cameras in the area but could not say where they were positioned.
“I think it would be better to make sure that, for example, the cops could come and make sure they know what happened instead of people guessing what happened,” said Pisciotto.
According to a handbook for county bridge operators, operators are supposed to check boats, but it’s unclear whether every bridge has the equipment to do so.