Birthday celebration to boating tragedy. What caused wreck off Florida Keys?

It was supposed to be a sun-drenched Miami birthday celebration on Biscayne Bay: 12 friends and two adults, out for a ride on a family’s boat on a gorgeous Labor Day holiday

weekend. But for reasons investigators were still working to determine on Wednesday, the 29-foot boat — skippered by a well-known owner of a Doral real-estate brokerage

firm — struck a fixed marker at the end of channel at the far southern end of the bay, hitting it with enough speed and force to capsize the vessel and hurl everyone

overboard. It was about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, the bay nearly flat calm and plenty of light still left in the day. Other boaters and rescuers rushed to the scene, just a few

miles from the Ocean Reef Club in North Key Largo, and plucked the victims, two adults and the rest teenage girls, from the water. Four girls were rushed to the hospital, with one

— 17-year-old Luciana Fernandez — not surviving. Miami-Dade’s medical examiner on Wednesday ruled she’d drowned. Another, Katherina Sofia Puig, 17, remains hospitalized fighting

for her life. Families, friends and classmates at two schools the girls aboard attended — Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Southwest Miami-Dade and Carrollton School of the

Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove, remained stunned and most were reluctant to talk. The ties among them were tight. “All of the students that were on the boat, in the

accident, were all very interconnected,” Sister Carmen Fernandez, the president of Our Lady of Lourdes Academy told WSVN-7. “They’ve been family, friends, parents included, since

they were little girls.”