A 69-year-old Bonita Springs man continued to recover tonight after losing his left foot in a boating mishap earlier in the day. Rosario Pucciarelli was swimming off Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples at about 11 a.m. when a charter boat headed for shore struck him, severing his foot. Emergency rescuers took Pucciarelli to North Collier Hospital, from which he was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital. He remained there in fair condition. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the boat operator, Brandon Ruganis, 31, was taking his charter boat to shore to pick up passengers when he struck Pucciarelli. Ruganis, of Naples, has not been charged. Gabriella Ferraro, FWC spokeswoman, said Pucciarelli's severed foot was recovered, but emergency workers were unable to reattach it. Attempts to reach Pucciarelli's family Saturday were unsuccessful. According to the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, Ruganis owns a business called Safiri Sailing Cruises, which has been in operation since 2005. Terry Ruganis, 55, had yet to talk with her son after the accident when contacted Saturday. "I'm shocked by it," she said. "I feel for both of them." She said her son had never been in a boating accident before today. According to an FWC report, there were six boating crashes in Lee County in 2009, compared with five in Collier County the same year. FWC has not released more details as it investigates. 5:39 p.m. update The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified a man who lost his foot in a boating accident today as Rosario Pucciarelli, 69, of Bonita Springs. The operator of the charter boat that struck Pucciarelli is Brandon Ruganis, 31, of Naples. Ruganis has not been charged, according to FWC. Gabriella Ferraro, FWC spokeswoman, said rescuers found Pucciarelli's foot but were unable to reattach it. Pucciarelli was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he is listed in fair condition. 3:11 p.m. update A 69-year-old male swimmer lost part of his left leg today after a boating accident on Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples. The man, who was struck by a boat, is at Lee Memorial Hospital's trauma center, according to North Naples Fire and Rescue spokesman Jerry Sanford. Sanford said firefighters received a call at about 11 a.m. regarding a boating accident at the Vanderbilt Beach turnaround. "I believe the boat went into an area were there were swimmers," Sanford said. The boat apparently severed the lower part of the man's left leg. "The man was put on a parasail in the water and brought to shore," Sanford said. Once on shore, firefighters from North Naples Fire and Rescue attended to the man. "We also put divers in the water to find the missing limb but were unable to find it," Sanford said. Collier County EMS and sheriff's office deputies were also on the scene. The victim was initially transported to North Collier Hospital and then transported via helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital. His identity and condition are unknown at this time. Originally Posted at: www.news-press.com
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