The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that a boating accident in Clearwater, Florida, left a 52-year-old man dead and critically injured his 4-year-old daughter on Saturday. WFLA reports that around 4:45 p.m., Craig Butz, of Altamonte Springs, and his daughter, Teagan Butz, were riding on their personal watercraft on the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach when they collided with a 34-foot boat, driven by 67-year-old Thomas Carey, a well-known attorney in Clearwater, near 941 Bay Esplanade.
Paramedics rushed Butz to Morton Plant in critical condition, but he later died from his injuries. Teagan was airlifted to Bayfront Health Hospital, where she remains in the intensive care unit–still listed in serious condition.
It was not immediately made clear if there were any other injuries sustained in the Clearwater Beach boating accident.
A family spokesperson, Natalie King, stated that Teagan’s relatives are optimistic about her recovery as she is already showing signs of improvement.
Details leading up to the fatal Clearwater Beach boating accident remains a mystery. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that it could take up to 45 days to determine what happened.
Butz was the executive director at Pepin Academies, a school for students with learning disabilities. His colleagues described him as a down-to-earth and passionate man, who made an impact on the school.
It was reported that Butz is a former professional hockey player, having played in the Western Hockey League and Major Junior Hockey League before being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1983.
In a Twitter post, World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Titus O’Neil paid a tribute to Butz where he stated that he was keeping Butz’s wife and his critically injured daughter in his prayers.
Danny Leier, who played five seasons with Butz, called the boating accident “brutal.” He went on to say that “it’s not the news you want to hear.”
“I knew Butzy inside out, that’s for sure. Everybody did. You couldn’t ask for a better teammate. He’d do anything for you. He was the perfect Huskie.”
After Butz’s fatal boating accident, Pepin Academies released the following statement.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the unexpected and tragic loss of Pepin Academies’ Executive Director, Dr. Craig Butz. In my four years working with Dr. Butz, he advanced the mission of Pepin Academies tenfold. His wisdom and intelligence were matched by his passion and exuberance for the staff and students of our schools. He was a leader, a champion, and a friend. The pain of his loss, both professionally and personally, will be felt for an eternity.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his young daughter Teagan who remains in critical condition. We ask that their privacy be respected during this sad and difficult time. Pepin Academies will have bereavement specialists at the school on Monday to help grieving students and staff cope with this tragic loss.”
Carey’s law firm was contacted for comments on the boating accident that left a father dead and his daughter critically injured. Jodi Leisure, an attorney in the office, stated that Carey is “devastated and heartbroken” over Butz’s untimely death, and he is hoping that his daughter makes a full recovery.
An investigation into the Clearwater boating accident continues.
[Featured Image by Andreamuscatello/iStock]