One person has died and another is in critical condition after a rogue wave caused a commercial dive boat to capsize Thursday, authorities said.
The Thanksgiving Day incident happened in Pompano Beach at the Hillsborough Inlet as the boat was returning from a dive trip, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said the captain of the 45-foot Coral Princess catamaran did everything he could to keep the boat upright after a wave hit it from behind.
"Apparently the captain was just trying to come through some rough waters," said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella. "It was windy, there were waves rolling in, there was a rogue wave that hit the back of the boat and capsized the boat sending everyone into the water."
A woman in her 50s, who was transported to Broward Health North, has died, authorities said. Although her cause of death is unknown, BSO said it appears that the woman may have drowned.
"At least one person was caught underneath, another person was injured," Moschella told NBC 6 South Florida.
Three others were also taken to the hospital but are in good condition, hospital staff said.
"But during the rescue it got pretty dicey and scary because we were told there were more people, there may be people missing, so all of these agencies began searching for people to make sure we had everyone," Sandra King, spokeswoman for Pompano Fire, told NBC 6 South Florida.
She said the inlet is tough to negotiate.
"They say it turns into a wash basin," she said. "It's a rough inlet."
Good Samaritans assisted in the rescue effort. Chapin Dalton, who was on shore at the time, said he saw the boat capsize.
"When we were looking at it, it was just pure shock," he said. "We turn and we hear, 'Oh, this boat is going down.' And he just timed it wrong, that's the whole thing. He ducked his front nose in, the bow of the boat ducked in the wave and he just rolled over."
BSO said homicide investigators will investigate the incident.
"Right now it looks like this is a tragic accident," she said. "What started out as a gorgeous day on the water for 23 people ended in tragedy."
The boat's passengers consisted of two crew members and 21 divers.