Authorities identify boat operator who fatally struck 15-year-old Ella Adler

MIAMI – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified the boat operator in connection with the death of 15-year-old Ella Adler, who was struck while water skiing in Biscayne Bay on Saturday.

Authorities say Carlos Guillermo Alonso, 78, of Coral Gables, was the driver of the boat.

They say he was the only occupant of the vessel that day, according to the one-page incident report.

The boat was discovered behind a home in the Hammocks Oaks neighborhood of Coral Gables. Neighbors described the man who lives in the home as a family man and experienced boater. They said he was devastated by what happened.

Rodney Barreto, president of the FWC, had this to say about Ella’s death: “It touched our community in some way.”

“When you’re 15, you don’t expect to go out on a boat and not come home.”

The FWC’s new preliminary report says she was on a boat with 12 other people and was being towed while on a wakeboard.

Records show Alonso owns the house where the vessel was seized.

“The gentleman who was driving the boat and cooperating with us is Mr. Alonso,” Barreto said.

“We recovered physical evidence which we sent to our state laboratory for testing.”

Barreto said officers used witness descriptions to find the boat.

“It was good old-fashioned police work by our officers. We had them go through the canals from Coconut Grove to South Miami. They went through the canals with the physical description they had and recognized the boat .”

Batteto said there was no evidence indicating reckless or intoxicated driving.

It is unclear whether the driver will be cited or charged.

“Our job is to gather information and present it to the district attorney, so he can do his job.”

The loss of Ella Adler prompts this warning from Barreto: “Make sure you pay attention to the water and always look around because things can happen on the water and they can happen very quickly.”

“We encourage people to use extra caution and attend boating safety schools.”

“Florida has the most registered boats in the country and Miami-Dade has the most registered boats than any county in Florida.”

Boat seized as part of an investigation into the death of Ella Adler.

CBS News Miami

Ella, the granddaughter of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Michael M. Adler, was water skiing with friends Saturday near the Nixon Beach sandbar when she fall in the water while being towed and was struck by another boat. The driver of this boat never stopped.

An all-out search was then launched to find the boat and its driver.

On Wednesday, Florida Fish and Wildlife thought they found it.

“I am pleased to report that we have a vessel in custody that matches the description given by witnesses,” said George Reynaud of FWC. “THE the boat is in our custody and the owner cooperates with us.

Monday morning, hundreds of people assisted services for Adler at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach.

Tuesday, First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden stopped by in person to offer condolences and be with the family.

“We are honored that the First Lady made a Shiva appeal to our family during this time of immense pain. We are humbled by their support and love and we are proud to call the President and First Lady our friends since over 40 years old,” according to a family statement.

Adler was a freshman at Ransom Everglades High School and a ballerina with Miami City Ballet.

“We are heartbroken,” Ransom Everglades posted on Facebook. “Ella Adler ’27 shined in our classrooms and on our stages, and she embodied the mission of Ransom Everglades School. We wish her family peace and comfort.”

“We at Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School are completely devastated by the heartbreaking news of this tragic accident,” said the organization, which described Adler as a beloved student and magnificent dancer who honored their scene. “Our hearts go out to Ella’s family, her friends and all those who had the privilege of knowing and adoring her. As we come together, we will deeply mourn the loss of Ella and hold dear the precious memories that we had the chance to create with his.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to the Adler family during this difficult time,” the U.S. Embassy in Belgium said in a statement. “Out of respect for their privacy, we don’t have anything else.”

Anyone who saw the accident or anyone who may have video footage or information about it is asked to call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471 -TIPS (8477).