Local

Jet Ski guide, rental owner both called 911 minutes after deadly Hilton Head crash

Listen: Two 911 calls made minutes after fatal Hilton Head Jet Ski crash

The owner of Sea Monkeys Watersports and one of the jet ski rental company's guides both called 911 within minutes of the jet ski crash that led to the death of 20-year-old tourist Ciara Eiriz near Hilton Head Island on July 30, 2019.
Up Next
The owner of Sea Monkeys Watersports and one of the jet ski rental company's guides both called 911 within minutes of the jet ski crash that led to the death of 20-year-old tourist Ciara Eiriz near Hilton Head Island on July 30, 2019.

Newly released 911 calls from the day a 20-year-old tourist died in a Jet Ski collision detail the minutes after the crash.

Ciara Eiriz, a fashion merchandising student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday afternoon.

Initial autopsy results show Eiriz died from blunt force trauma, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said Monday morning.

At 12:39 p.m. July 30, a Jet Ski guide with Sea Monkeys Watersports — the company that rented the two Jet Skis involved in the crash, according to officials — was the first person to call 911 after the crash.

The call lasted just less than two minutes.

The guide said she was on a Jet Ski trip in the Calibogue Sound off Hilton Head Harbor and that someone was injured.

“Someone just fell off their Jet Ski and their head is bleeding,” she said. “I’m going to get them back to Hilton Head Harbor, but we need people to meet us there.”

She said the injured woman was unconscious. She said she’d “flag down the next boat that passes” and could get to the boat landing in “hopefully 10 minutes, maybe less.”

The dispatcher asked if anyone had put anything on the woman’s wound.

“Um, I don’t really know what to do,” the guide said. “Should I wrap their wound in a T-shirt?”

The dispatcher instructed the guide to take her clean, dry shirt and put it over the injury.

The 13 seconds before the guide and dispatcher hung up were redacted from the audio obtained by The Island Packet through a Freedom of Information request.

At 12:45 p.m., a man called 911 and eventually identified himself as the owner of the company where the woman rented the Jet Ski.

He said his employee called and asked first reponders to meet them at Hilton Head Harbor, but the people with the injured woman were actually closer to Pinckney Island landing. He asked EMS go there instead.

He said he was on the way to pick up the woman, who was breathing but unconscious and bleeding from her head.

By this time, Eiriz was out of the water, according to the call.

Twenty-four seconds in the middle of the 911 call were redacted.

The 19-year-old man who was driving the second Jet Ski involved in the crash was charged with negligent operation of water device, a misdemeanor. He was from the same area as Eiriz, and the two knew people in common, but were vacationing separately at the time of the crash, officials have said.

The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers typically do not name those charged with misdemeanor crimes unless they are in a position of authority or public trust.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments