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Two die in fatal boating accident on Lake Jesup

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators are still piecing together factors that led to a fatal airboat accident on Lake Jesup, which killed two central Florida men and injured two women.

The accident occurred on Dec. 28 at about 7 p.m. when an airboat containing five people struck the overhead portion of the State Road 417 Bridge near its south end.

The airboat operator, Mark Anthony Cruz (DOB 09/23/63) of 8855 Freedom Road, Mims, and passenger Joel Thomas Arnold (DOB 01/23/67) of Orlando died in the accident.

Two other passengers, Vickie Lee Cruz of Sorrento and Rhonda Lyn Silvia of Orlando, were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries. Leslie Ann Cruz, wife of the deceased vessel operator, was not physically injured.

Cruz’s body was recovered shortly after the accident. Arnold’s body was recovered late the next morning by teams from the FWC, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Seminole County Fire Department. The investigation is ongoing.