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:( It's very tragic, and I feel very sorry for the family that no longer has a father or a husband. I post this story to help promote the little safety items that can help you survive such a scenario. Man thrown from boat dies...

Published in the Asbury Park Press 5/12/02
A Hazlet man jumping waves in Raritan Bay was thrown from his motorboat and was pronounced dead about two hours later, police said yesterday.

Raul Ruiz, 37, of Peters Place, was alone in his 24-foot Pantera about 250 yards north of the Keansburg Fishing Pier Friday afternoon when several witnesses saw the boat hit a large swell, soar straight up in the air and then land on its stern, said Trooper Peter Pfifer of the New Jersey State Police, Point Pleasant Marine Station.

"At some point he was ejected, but the boat kept going around in circles," Pfifer said. Investigators did not know if Ruiz was injured before being thrown into the water in the accident, which happened around 2:15, Pfifer said.

The speedboat, powered by an inboard-outboard engine, is similar in style to a cigarette boat, but shorter. It continued operating at full throttle for about an hour before it ran aground on a sandbar off Union Beach, police said.

Ruiz's pregnant wife was on the pier with their baby daughter and was videotaping her husband prior to the accident, but had just stopped taping, police said.

Initially, Ruiz was believed to still be in the boat. But when a New York Police Department harbor patrol helicopter flew over the craft, it was determined the boat was empty, said Keansburg Patrolman Brian Goode, who responded to the accident.

Ruiz later was found in the water near the scene of the accident by Coast Guard crew members from the Sandy Hook station.

He was lying face up with no pulse and he was not breathing, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jason Olsen, of the Sandy Hook station.

Coast Guard members performed CPR on Ruiz, who was taken by police boat to shore, then transported to Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel. He was pronounced dead at 4:14 p.m., Olsen said.

"The guy was operating his boat recklessly," Goode said. Ruiz "had just bought the boat a month ago and only had it out four times."

"It really is a shame," Goode said.

Witnesses said they had seen the boat speeding by, jumping waves and doing doughnuts prior to the accident.

"He was out there showing off," Luis Navarrete of Secaucus said in a telephone interview yesterday. Navarrete had been on the pier fishing on Friday afternoon.

Pfifer said the weather was rough Friday, with two- to three-foot swells and winds of 17 mph.

The cause of death was still under investigation yesterday.

An autopsy is scheduled to be performed today at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township.

Olsen said Ruiz was not wearing a life jacket.

"If he was wearing his life jacket, his chances of survival would have increased," Olsen said.
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