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Boat crashes into Matlacha Pass Bridge, gets stranded due to high wind

Posted at 6:48 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 18:48:25-05

MATLACHA — The high winds from Hurricane Eta washed a boat into a bridge on Wednesday in Matlacha.

It was a desperate scene around 11 a.m. as Christian Monzon tried to save his boat. He said it was anchored right off shore when the storm blew in, and several onlookers watched as it hit the bridge.

“The anchor wouldn’t hold, and it slammed right there into the bridge," said Trent Mebust, who saw the boat hit the bridge.

“The sailboat end up right here. There was nothing I could do really. It was too fast, too quick," said Monzon.

Some of the onlookers jumped in to see if they could help.

“He’s going to lose his boat unless we can get it out," said Ken MacDonald, who was driving by and stopped to help Monzon.

They tried pulling it with a rope, and even got it tied to a wench, but it wouldn’t budge.

“This boat here, there’s three of us tried to pull it. It’s just that current is so strong right now you can’t even move it. The wench isn’t even moving it," said Sherry Riley, who works at a nearby restaurant and came to help.

The boat also crashed into the dock at the Bridgewater Inn as it got tossed by the waves. General Manager John Tobin said they’re now worried this could impact their future business.

“The boats are tied to the dock, and they’re loosening the pilings and they’re slamming into them, so we’re worried about the damage it’s going to do after this is all over," said Tobin.

Monzon stayed on his boat, trying to push it off the bridge, until finally emergency crews arrived and made everyone leave the area.

“I was trying to save my boat, but it don’t look like it’s going to be saved right now," said Monzon.

Monzon said he actually lived on the boat, so he’s worried he may have just lost his home. Another concern was the mast on the boat. Emergency crews were worried it could break off and fall across the road, and they discussed cutting it off, but they hadn't taken any action as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday.