2 dead, 1 critically injured after boat hits dock
Boat strikes dock of Pelican Reef home, located near the Bridge of Lions
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Two men are dead and a woman is in critical condition after a boat hit a dock in St. Augustine on Sunday night.
The vessel was traveling south of the Bridge of Lions about 10 p.m. when it hit the dock connected to a home in the Pelican Reef neighborhood.
All three passengers were ejected into the water. Warren Hall and and Franklin Babb (pictured below on right), both 52, died in the crash. Alicia Babb (pictured below on left), 50, was critically injured.
Another boater was able to rescue Alicia Babb from the water, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Hall and Babb were recovered in the vicinity of the collision.
The three were returning to the Vilano Boat Ramp after a day of boating, officials said.
"He was my dad. I loved everything about him, everything," Frank Babb said Monday at the site of the crash. "He loved to fish. I wish he got to do more of it."
Alicia and Franklin Babb
"He loved this place and he's very well-known around town and loved helping people," said Danielle Rienks, Franklin Babb's daughter. "He would just break his back for people, and you couldn't ask for a better person, you really couldn't."
"He was an amazing father. He raised his children right by himself," added Lynn Rowland, Franklin Babb's sister. "He did a good job, he was a good man, he helped his friends, he lived life."
Babb, his wife, Alicia, and their friend Hall, who went by Chris, were out fishing Sunday and were on their way back.
"We certainly heard and felt the impact of him hitting the dock," said Jack Williams, who lives in Pelican Reef two doors down from the dock the 16-foot motorboat ran into. "The boat actually flew up over the dock and then dumped them all into the water. The fisherman saved the lady's life, there's no question about that."
That nearby fisherman saw the crash, pulled up his anchor, drove over and saved Alicia Babb.
Franklin Babb and their friend Hall, both born on the same day, didn't make it.
Williams ran out to his dock and saw a sneaker floating in the water.
"The next thing I knew, almost underneath my dock there was a body, a man's body in the water that was floating and coming by fairly fast," he said.
He raced over to his boat lift.
"I was able to run over and grab a boat hook, and I was able to stop him, but he was a big guy and the current was going so strongly that I couldn't turn him over. All I could do was hang on," Williams said.
First responders arrived immediately and helped pull him up and gave him CPR. Alicia, in and out of consciousness, told them there was one more.
"Probably about an hour or so later they discovered the second male victim who was tangled up two docks down," Williams said.
Twelve hours later, FWC officials returned to the dock to investigate why the boat hit it. Investigators have not said who was driving the boat. They said it's too early to say whether alcohol was a factor, but no cans or bottles were found on the boat.
Meanwhile, Franklin Babb's family members are now dealing with his loss.
"He loved life and he died doing what he loved," Rowland said. "He loved to fish and he loved being on the ocean, and if he had to go, that's the way he would have wanted to go."
"His smile and his heart, and he's just a really good guy," Rienks said. "He worked hard for everything. He gave his three children, and I just want to just keep making him proud."
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