POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — An autopsy was planned Friday for a woman visiting South Florida from New Mexico who died after a large wave hit a dive boat, causing it to capsize after a Thanksgiving Day dive trip, authorities said.
Nina Poppelsdorf, 54, of Sandia Park, New Mexico, died at the hospital Thursday after the 45-foot catamaran Coral Princess capsized, said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella. Witnesses said the boat was approaching the Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach when a wave 8 to 10 feet high came in and “surprised them.” The wave tipped the boat over from one side to the other.
Poppelsdorf was in Florida with her nephew, who is from Pennsylvania, just for the dive trip.
“They just went on this fun trip together to just do dives,” Moscehlla said. “So this is especially tragic that it was on Thanksgiving and it ended in tragedy.”
The Coral Princess is a Corinthian catamaran owned by South Florida Diving Headquarters in Pompano Beach. A phone message left Friday by The Associated Press for the owner of the boat was not immediately returned.
Three of the 23 people on the boat were treated and released. Most of them were from out of town on vacation, authorities said
Officials said nearby boaters jumped into the water to pull people to safety. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue workers used personal watercraft to get to the site. The U.S. Coast Guard and other state and local agencies assisted in the rescue.
The accident remains under investigation.