Boca Grande Fire Department responds to drowning

October 8, 2021
By Staff Report

Just before midnight on Sunday, Sept. 26 the Boca Grande Fire Department received a call of a person who had drowned near the Boca Grande Causeway, in the area of the trestle sandbar. Charlotte County Fire and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office responded as well. They met with the victim and two other occupants who were with him at a dock near the Causeway, and CPR was immediately begun.

The victim was identified as Jose C. Rivera Pons, 67, with a last known address in Port Charlotte.

The two other individuals, Jeremy Cartagena, 39, (no last known address available) and Jesus Alberto Lopez Zumbado, 31, (no last known address available) were uninjured.

The individuals were in the vicinity of the sandbar when it was determined that Rivera Pons was missing from the group. He was finally located but it was too late for emergency lifesaving measures. He was taken to Englewood Community Hospital by Charlotte County and pronounced dead by a private physician.

In other police news, on Saturday, Sept. 25 at approximately 10:40 p.m. Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputies and Boca Grande Fire and EMS received a call of a female in the water after falling out of a boat near the sandbar and possibly being run over.

According to the report, the original 911 caller said the female had jumped off his boat and would not stop screaming, even when he was trying to get her out of the water.

A second boater called in and said he heard the female yelling and drove to where she was and was able to pull her into his boat. This caller said he saw a man on a boat near the female when he arrived but did not see any altercation between them and could not identify the man or his boat. This caller took the female to Eldred’s Marina to meet with deputies.

Upon arrival at the marina the female told deputies that she was involved in a physical altercation with a man while on his boat. She said he grabbed her cellphone and pushed her into the water, and that she had been in the water for approximately two hours. She also told deputies he ran her over with the boat several times at full speed.

Reports indicated the only obvious injury to the female was a bump on her head, which emergency medical personnel later said were not conducive to injuries received after being hit by a boat. The reporting deputy did indicate the female smelled strongly of alcohol, though she refused to admit that she had been drinking.

After being given a copy of the report at the hospital, the female was released. No charges were filed against anyone, as there was no consistent proof of a crime being committed.