CHARLOTTE — Authorities in Florida say Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes was a passenger on the personal watercraft when it crashed with a boat near the Miami Marine Stadium this week, and that an investigation into the crash is active.
The crash happened at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a 46-foot cabin boat with one person on board and an 11-foot Yamaha personal watercraft collided in Biscayne Bay. Based on the size of the vessel given by FWC, the watercraft was a Yamaha WaveRunner. The report says the cabin boat was going north and the WaveRunner was going west to east -- according to boating rules, the cabin boat would have had the right of way.
According to an update from FWC on Friday, the Yamaha personal watercraft was being operated by Marie-Luise Taubert of Germany, and Walkes was a passenger on the watercraft. FWC didn’t have information on Taubert’s connection to Walkes.
After the crash, Walkes was found unconscious in the water by first responders and he was taken to a hospital, but he later died from his injuries.
The report says it’s unknown if alcohol is a factor in the crash.
FWC says the investigation into the crash is ongoing. It’s not yet clear if criminal charges will be filed in connection with the crash, but the “arrest” section of the report was marked “pending.”
Walkes was 25 at the time of his death and had just completed his first season with Charlotte FC. The team was in Florida for training, according to a video posted on the team’s social media pages, but it’s not known if any other teammates were around the area at the time of the crash.
The Royal Family, a fan support club for Charlotte FC, held a vigil Thursday outside the East Gate of Bank of America Stadium to honor Walkes’ life. The vigil started at 4 p.m., and dozens of fans brought cards, jerseys, banners, flowers, and signs to place against the gate. Charlotte FC owner David Tepper and the team arrived together, huddled around the memorial created by fans.
(WATCH BELOW: Soccer fans around the world mourn loss of Charlotte FC’s Anton Walkes)
©2023 Cox Media Group