Boat captain tossed overboard taken off life support

Courtesy of Stuart Browning
Courtesy of Stuart Browning
Courtesy of Stuart Browning
Courtesy of Stuart Browning
Courtesy of Stuart Browning
Courtesy of Stuart Browning

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - Friends and family mourn the death of a beloved boat captain three days after he was thrown from the tower of his charter boat in the Jupiter Inlet.

Captain Tom Henry was taken off life support at St. Mary's Medical Center Monday.

"[It] looks like the boat took off and corrected itself; then, he fell off, landed on the gunnel and slid down," said Captain Charlie Ridler. "He was probably knocked out, broke his neck, winded right there."

Dramatic photos show Captain Tom Henry as he's thrown off the tower of his fishing boat Friday. The 51-foot Waterdog rocking to the side when it crashed into a large wave tossing Henry from the boat. " It's a real shock to me. I don't understand why it happened; he knows how to run the boats real well," Ridler continued.

"Stuff happens; it has nothing to do with not doing it right," another captain said.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the commercial fishing boat was entering the Jupiter Inlet when Henry fell overboard. The photos, taken with a high speed camera, have been edited together to show how the accident happened.

You can see as the 61-year old captain crashes face down on the deck below. He's then seen hanging onto the side of the boat for dear life before falling into the water.

Henry was pulled from the water and rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center where he was taken off life support Monday. "He was well-loved and well-liked around here. He did his job very well; he was a great guy and a lot of the fishermen around here are pretty upset by it," said Ridler.

The Waterdog is docked at the Seasport Marina in Jupiter. This is where Henry left from on Friday with five passengers and a first mate. He was well known by many of the captains who dock their boats here.

"Tom's been a captain as long as I've known him," said Captain Louis Mauro. "He's been a captain forever up north fished all the tournaments, goes to the Bahamas, great captain."

"If anyone knew the inlet," said Ridler, "It was Tom."

But even that wasn't enough to prevent this unforeseen event.

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