Marlins Star Pitcher José Fernéndez Dies in Boating Accident at 24
Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernéndez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning. He was 24.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, an overturned boat that had crashed into a jetty was discovered at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday during law enforcement patrol. Fernéndez was confirmed as one of the three deceased found.
The identities of the other two victims have not been released as authorities are in the process of contacting their next of kin, Lorenzo Veloz, spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said in a press conference on Sunday. They are being described as personal friends of Fernéndez and between the ages of 24 and 27.
In a statement, the Marlins say they are “devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernéndez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
The Marlins’ scheduled game Sunday against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.
“It’s bad,” Veloz said on Sunday. “It’s horrible, it’s bad. There’s no other word for it.”
Veloz said the boat was a “total loss” and that it belonged to someone who was well-connected with the Marlins.
According to Veloz, the vessel hit a rock jetty can capsized. Speed is being considered an issue due the severity of the impact on the rocks. Veloz notes that none of the victims were wearing life vests at the time and that there was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash.
According to Veloz, the victims’ families all knew that they were going out for the evening.
The standout baseball pitcher was expecting a baby with his girlfriend, identified by Larry Brown Sports as Carla Mendoza.
“I’m so glad you came into my life,” Fernéndez recently captioned a photo of his girlfriend holding her baby bump on the beach. “I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Fernéndez saved his mother from drowning when the family defected from Cuba when he was a teenager. His mother fell overboard and Fernéndez jumped in after her, paddling back to the boat with one arm as she held onto his back.
Fernéndez was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013, also making the All-Star team during his first season. After missing the majority of the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, he was named an All-Star for a second time this year.