Jose Fernandez Dead: Marlins Pitcher Dies in Boating Accident

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Jose Fernandez, 24, was killed in an early morning boating accident. (Getty)

Superstar Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez has died at the age of 24 in a boating accident early Sunday morning, the Coast Guard says in a press release.

Two other men were killed in the boat crash off of Miami Beach, the news station reports. Their names have not yet been released, pending notification of next of kin. Officials said they were friends of Fernandez and were also in their mid 20s. Rescuers are not searching for any other victims.

Autopsies will be conducted on Fernandez and the other two victims, officials said.

The 32-foot SeaVee boat crashed near Government Cut and South Pointe Park, the Coast Guard said.

“A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Miami was heading out on a law enforcement patrol at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday when they passed a jetty along Government Cut and discovered an overturned 33-foot center console boat on the jetty with three deceased aboard,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews also responded and found Fernandez and the two other victims.

“They found a boat that was up against the jetties,” Chief Todd Garofalo told the news station. “They did do an initial search and they found three victims — two on top of the water, one underneath the boat and they had unfortunately passed away.”

Photos from the scene show the overturned boat against the jetties:

The crash is being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Coast Guard says.

Lorenzo Veloz, public information officer for the FWC said at a press conference that speed appears to have been a factor in the crash. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have played a role in the crash, he said. The boat was headed south when it hit the rocks, Veloz said.

“The jetty is rocks, it’s not very visible,” Veloz said. “But we are aware that vessel has traveled several times through this area, so that person was obviously aware of where they were. Unfortunately, sometimes at night, you deviate, because there are no lights out there and you can’t see anything.”

Fernandez and the other two victims were not wearing life vests, Veloz said.

The boat is not owned by Fernandez, Veloz said. He added that he has personally stopped the boat in the past for safety checks in the area.

It is not clear when the crash occurred, but it was found about 3:30 a.m. Other details have not yet been released.

Fernandez was one of the best pitchers in baseball, rising quickly to the majors after being drafted in the first round in 2011.

The Marlins have cancelled their game against the Atlanta Braves.

“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”

He posted a photo earlier in the week of his pregnant girlfriend, writing “I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst.”

Fernandez was born in Cuba on July 31, 1992, and defected to the United States in 2007 with his mother and sister.

After playing high school baseball at Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida, Fernandez was drafted by the Marlins in 2011. After two years in the minor leagues, he debuted in 2013 and was an instant star, winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

He battled injuries throughout his career, but was one of the most dominant pitchers in the league while healthy, posting a career record of 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA and 589 strikeouts. The two-time All-Star was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA this season. He was scheduled to pitcher for a final time Monday.

“We are stunned and devastated by the tragic news,” Major League Baseball said in a statement.

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