WATCH: Yacht crew pops balloons, throws them into Florida bay

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) – Members of a yacht crew were caught on video popping and illegally dumping party balloons into a south Florida bay. Now, the man who chartered the vessel is facing charges and more than $22,000 in fines.

Cell phone video making its rounds on social media caught the chartered yacht crew popping balloons and letting them fall into Biscayne Bay near Bayshore Landing Marina in Coconut Grove.

David Torres-Bocanegra, the 29-year-old man who claims to have chartered the boat, is speaking out on social media saying this was not his fault.

He says the group was told to remove the balloons, which were attached to the front of the boat, because they were not allowed to go out to sea.

“And I was like OK, cool. Not a problem. You know, take them off, whatever,” Torres-Bocanegra said. “I just really want to put my heart out and say… how I think it’s so important to take care of our environment and things like this certainly need to be addressed.”

But the way the crew removed those balloons – by simply popping them and throwing them into the water – angered fellow boaters.

Esteban Bruna caught the incident on camera and posted the video online.

“People are mad. I was mad. I’m glad I was able to post [the video],” Bruna said.

JP Ortega, who charters an eco-tour out of the marina, also took video of the balloons on the yacht. He said he knew they’d end up in the ocean, but he thought it would be unintentional. He was surprised to see people throwing them directly into the water.

“It was really frustrating to see somebody with that kind of ignorance,” Ortega said. “[There is] a lot of wildlife around here. [Balloons] take thousands of years to disappear. It doesn’t even disappear. It becomes micro pieces.”

Other boaters tried to scoop up the balloons from the water and clean up what they could.

“We pull trash from the bay all the time,” David Furer said. “And here we have people deliberately, you know, popping balloons and throwing them into the water. So, it made us angry.”

The video caught the attention of the Miami-Dade Police Department, who went to the site to investigate illegal dumping.

Torres-Bocanegra faces charges of reckless disregard for the environment. He was issued nine citations totaling more than $22,000.

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