“I Couldn’t Stay Inside Very Long, I Stunk So Bad of River Water”

On 19 October 2012, a boat accident occurred at a Front Street dock in Melbourne, Florida. Robert Vitaliano, a Brevard County sheriff’s sergeant who was on his way to a wedding reception, said, “I stepped out of my truck and I was actually on the phone with somebody, and I heard a bang at the dock. I look and I see, and I think it was a 21- to 25-foot bow rider vessel that had struck … the dock.” The boat’s engine kept running. Mr. Vitaliano said, “As [the boat] went vertical, I was running down to the water’s edge. It went straight up and flipped over upside-down. … I was in disbelief, actually. It’s not something that you ever imagine seeing. It was one of those things where you just kind of reacted.” Mr. Vitaliano and six other wedding guests—Griff Ace, Ryan Ace, Danny Moser, Anthony Pellettere, and Mark Wolf—went to help three people thrown out of the boat and three others trapped underneath. Mr. Vitaliano said, “This was not an individual effort.” The men lifted the boat high enough that the people underneath could swim to shore. Mr. Vitaliano said, “They had no chance of breathing under there. They were trapped.” Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker said, “It’s situations like this that make me proud to serve in a community where our law enforcement officers and citizens put the needs of others first and save lives. This event could have ended tragically if not for the quick actions of Rob and the citizens who came to the rescue.” Mr. Vitaliano said, “It was our honor and our pleasure to come and help them in a time of need.” Despite being soaked, he went to the wedding reception, but he said, “I couldn’t stay inside very long, I stunk so bad of river water.”

For Further Information: “Melbourne wedding guests rescue 3 boaters.” Florida Today. 24 October 2012


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