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Family of teen injured in Boca Chita Key boating accident speaks – NBC 6 South Florida
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Family of teen injured in Boca Chita Key boating accident speaks – NBC 6 South Florida

The family of a teenage girl who suffered traumatic injuries in a 2022 boating accident near Boca Chita Key is speaking out for the first time as she continues her long road to recovery.

During her freshman year of high school, Katerina “Katy” Puig was the captain of the Our Lady of Lourdes Academy soccer team and had excelled academically.

“She won Player of the Year her junior year and was probably in almost every honor society you can think of,” said Katy’s sister, Amanda Puig.

On her way to college at the University of Florida, Katy’s life took a drastic turn on September 4, 2022.



A South Florida high school student died Sunday evening after a boating accident near Cutler Bay, school officials said. NBC 6’s Julia Bagg has the latest.

“You know how they say you can’t go back in time? I never want to relive that moment again,” said her mother, Kathya Puig.

Katy was one of 14 passengers on a boat piloted by George Pino, a well-known real estate developer in South Florida. Investigators say after Pino crashed into a canal marker, all passengers were thrown from the boat, killing 17-year-old Lucy Fernandez.
Many others were injured, including Katy Puig.

“She looked terrible,” said father Rudy Puig, remembering the moment he first saw his daughter in the hospital. “Her stomach was bloated. Her face was swollen. It was bad.”

Katy had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. She was in a coma for about three months, but she survived. The Puig’s believe the power of prayer and her beloved friend Lucy Fernandez, in heaven, helped her overcome significant health challenges.

“Lucy has been Katy’s angel since the night of the accident and will remain so for the rest of her life,” Amanda said.

Katy’s mother said she often speaks with the Fernandez family. “There isn’t a day that I don’t wake up and think about them,” she said.



A South Florida high school student died Sunday evening after a boating accident near Cutler Bay, school officials said. NBC 6’s Heather Walker has the latest.

In an effort to cover Katy’s lifelong medical expenses, the Puig family sued George Pino and his wife Cecilia.

A confidential settlement was reached with George and a $16 million settlement was ordered against Cecilia by a judge.

As for the criminal investigation, the Puig family believes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission mishandled the case.

“They really didn’t take the time or do the due diligence on this case,” Kathya said.

According to an incident report from the FWC, 61 empty alcoholic bottles and cans, an empty champagne bottle and a half-eaten bottle of spirits were found on the boat, but no one admitted to consuming alcohol.

George Pino refused a breathalyzer test after the crash, authorities said.

Pino has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of careless boating.

“There was definitely alcohol on the boat and FWC didn’t really look at that,” Rudy Puig said.

In the future, the intention is for Katy to walk. She is on the road to recovery, supported by her family, friends and an entire community ready to cheer her on Saturday at a Wiffle Ball tournament in her honor.

“She just has an incredible way of never giving up. She wants to do it and we will be there and Katy will come out on top,” Rudy said.

If you would like to participate in the Wiffle Ball tournament or become a sponsor, you can find more information here.