Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida requested the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers in assessing the safety of the jetty Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez collided with on Sunday.
Fernandez and two of his friends were killed when his boat hit the unlit structure, raising questions about its visibility, the Miami Herald reported.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, paid tribute to Fernandez on Tuesday during the Senate session, addressing Fernandez fleeing Cuba for the American Dream as “our story.”
His request asks for the Army and Coast Guard to “produce a comprehensive assessment of the jetty” and to also offer any recommendations to “enhance safety for boaters to navigate around and through them.”
There have been other incidents involving the jetty, but none was fatal according to the newspaper’s investigation of accidents reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
While the jetty off Miami Beach’s Government Cut Channel lack lights, there are a series of flashing marine beacons nearby that outline the busy channel.
“At high tide, the tip of the jetty goes underwater. At night, you’re not going to see it — even if you’re looking,” said Jack Garcia, a retired commander from Miami-Dade’s marine rescue squad.
The Coast Guard’s Miami Beach station conducted a review of the Government Cut’s navigational aids in 2015, a spokesman told the Herald, and they were all found to be adequate. The Coast Guard also confirmed that the lights in the channel were working properly after the accident.
The Corps of Engineers maintans the jetty, but any decisions to add lights to the area will be determined by the Coast Guard and local authorities, said Susan Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Corps.
The cause and circumstances of the crash Sunday morning are still unknown, but Jackson said the results of the investigation will likely play a role in any further steps.
Fernandez, 24, was on his own 32-foot powerboat with companions Eduardo Rivero, 26, and Emilio Jesus Macias, 27. A Coast Guard crew discovered the wreck at 3:30 a.m. Sunday.