Two women were killed Tuesday after their car plunged off the Fisher Island ferry east of the Port of Miami about 5 p.m.

Divers from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade Police Department located the blue 2019 Mercedes Benz about 8 p.m. submerged in the 50’-deep Government Cut, which borders the ultra-wealthy enclave. The two-hour recovery started about 11:15 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

No details were officially available on how the car got into the water or how far the ferry was from shore. The victims were identified as Emma Afra, of Fisher Island, and Viviane Brahms, of Harrison, N.Y.
The Coast Guard is conducting a maritime incident investigation.

The Miami Herald reported late Wednesday that sources familiar with the investigation said they believe the car was not in park and the driver mistakenly hit the gas pedal and went through a lightweight barrier into the water.
The 126’x46’ ferry Pelican, which received its most recent COI Jan. 23, can hold 22 cars as it crosses the cut between Miami Beach and the island.

James Politis, director of special projects for the island transportation department, said he had no further information on the accident.

The Fisher Island Community Association issued a statement saying it mourns the loss of the two women, and “we continue to cooperate fully with the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies. The health and safety of our residents, guests and employees is our top priority.”

St. Johns Ship Building, Palatka, Fla., is building four new 152’x52’x12′ 150-passenger, 30-vehicle ferries for the island. Designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group, the new boats, featuring 8′ drafts, can handle heavy equipment – including loaded concrete trucks for construction projects in the community.

Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.