MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – An early morning boating accident has killed three people on Government Cut off the coast of Miami Beach, including one of South Florida's greatest sports heroes.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was among those deceased. Two others, Emilio Macias and Eddy Rivero, were also killed.
The Marlins released the following statement Sunday morning:
"The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.
"Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled."
While heading out on a law enforcement patrol, a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Miami passed a jetty along Government Cut and found an overturned 32-foot center console vessel.
Miami-Dade Police and Florida Wish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel responded to the scene to find two of the victims under the boat, while the third was found in the shallow water.
According to the WFC's Lorenzo Veloz, none of the three were wearing a life jacket.
"It does appear that speed was involved due to the impact and the severity of it," said Veloz. "It does appear to be that they were coming at full speed when they encountered the jetty, and the accident happened."
When asked about the condition of the boat, Veloz said, "It's horrible, it's bad."
Authorities had seen the boat "several times" in the area and confirmed that it belonged to one of the victims, but not Fernandez. Several Marlins players have been seen on the vessel before.
"It does pertain to a friend of Jose who is very well connected with several Marlins players and I have stopped that boat before for safety inspections with other Marlins players on board," Veloz said. "We know that this boat knows the area. We just can't answer why this happened."
Just five days ago, Fernandez took to Instagram to announce that his girlfriend was expecting the couple's first child.
Fernandez, 24, was viewed as one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball.
In four years with the Marlins, he had a 38-17 record with a 2.58 ERA and 589 strikeouts in 471.1 career innings pitched.
The two-time All-Star was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 2013.
"Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "Jose left us far too soon, but his memory will endure in all of us. At this difficult time, our prayers are with his mother, grandmother, family and friends."
A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez became a United States citizen last year.
After two unsuccessful attempts, Fernandez defected to the U.S. as a 16-year-old in 2008 and went to high school in Tampa.
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