Fisher Island ferry accident: Emma Afra and Viviane Brahms killed after their Mercedes rolls off ferry after trekking off exclusive Fisher Island to nearby Miami Beach.
Two socialites have died after their Mercedes-Benz vehicle rolled off a ferry and into the water while trekking off an exclusive island community, investigators said Wednesday.
Emma Afra, 63, of Miami Beach, was identified as the driver, and 75-year-old Viviane Brahms of Harrison, N.Y., as the passenger, as the close friends caught a ferry en route from Fisher Island to nearby Miami Beach, Miami-Dade police said.
Crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue responded to calls of a submerged vehicle in the area of Government Cut, a shipping channel between Miami Beach and Fisher Island, around 5 p.m. Tuesday, the agencies said.
The ‘accident’ happened just moments after the ferry pulled off the tony island where a handful of only 700 ‘well to do’ residents live in what is described as the most expensive island in America.
After multiple searches, divers located the 2019 Mercedes with ‘two deceased females inside,’ mere feet from the dock where the boat had left, police said in a news release.
Advisen: Viviane Brahms & Emma Afra dead after car falls off ferry at Miami’s Fisher Island. https://t.co/0Mnvgy53mW
— Ralph Mylie Jr. (@WorldViewMaster) February 20, 2020
What caused socialites car to roll off ferry?
The Coast Guard is investigating how the car fell from the front of the ferry and plunged into the water. Police did not release the causes of death, which are pending medical examiner reports.
It’s unclear if tire chocks were in use when the victims’ car went overboard.
Ferry workers typically place blocks against the tires of vehicles on the vessel to prevent them from rolling through the tarp-like barrier.
‘The Pelican,’ a 113 foot vessel, which was involved in Tuesday’s incident, was inspected just last month nbc29 reported. Inspectors focus on the vessel’s stability, condition of the hulls, lifesaving equipment and emergency plans.
Of note, The Fisher Island ferry runs every 15 minutes, taking passengers across the 50-foot-deep channel around the clock which takes just on ten minutes to complete.
Fisher Island was named the richest ZIP code in the U.S. in 2019. Afra resided there, according to local reports, and had appeared at numerous high-profile events over the years.
In 2012, Afra co-chaired an event for Kristi House, a nonprofit that advocates to end child abuse and child sex trafficking, helping to raise $500,000 for child victims, according to the organization.
In 2017, both Afra and Brahms were pictured at a private opening at the Mnuchin Gallery in New York City. Last year, they both appeared at Glenn Ligon’s art lecture at the Miami Design District, foxnews reports.
Residents of Fisher Island, whose homes are valued at millions of dollars, said the community worked with first responders during the recovery operation.
‘It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the tragic loss of life of Emma Afra and Viviane Brahms who perished… when the car they were riding on the ferry ended up in the water for reasons still to be determined,’ Roberto Sosa, the president and CEO of the association, said Wednesday in a statement.
‘We continue to cooperate fully with the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies,’ he continued. ‘As further details become known, we will provide updates.