One Boater Dies, One Injured in Crash Offshore from Ocean City

A boat collision offshore from the coast of Ocean City Friday morning has left one boater dead and another one with a minor head injury.

A total of four people were pulled from the water by a good Samaritan boat, according to the Coast Guard, and one of them was reportedly unconscious at the time of rescue.

A Coast Guard spokesperson, Petty Officer Third Class Breanna Centeno, tells Bay Bulletin an EMT was on the water nearby when the two-boat crash happened 62 nautical miles offshore. Centeno says the EMT did CPR but the victim was still unresponsive. Centeno says the Coast Guard deployed an aircrew and a boat crew, but the good Samaritan boat brought all four victims back in from the water.

Family identified Chris Ragni, Sr. as the victim of the boat crash. Photo: Chris Ragni/Facebook

According to the Ocean City Fire Department, the unresponsive victim was pronounced dead by paramedics about 25 miles off the shore of Ocean City. One male patient suffered a minor head injury and refused treatment. The three surviving rescued boaters were brought back to a local marina.

The man who passed away has been identified as Captain Chris Ragni, Sr., well-known in the local offshore fishing community. His son, Chris Ragni, Jr., captain of the charter boat Bill Slayer out of Rehoboth Beach, announced his father’s death on Facebook. He posted, “My father Captain Chris F. Ragni passed away yesterday after a tragic boating accident while he was fishing with his buddies. He passed away while doing what he loved to do, surrounded by friends.” He thanked the assisting boats at the scene, including the crew of the Leslie Ann and the Regulator.

The Coast Guard is investigating the crash and its cause, and the agency isn’t releasing many details. Centeno does say one of the boats involved in the crash sank.

Ragni, Jr. wrote, ” The accident is under investigation. The truth will come out and I will let everyone know what happened when it does.”

A fellow charter captain set up a gofundme page to support the family, calling Ragni Sr. “a local fishing legend”. As of Wednesday morning, the fundraiser had nearly doubled its goal of $10,000.

Meg Walburn Viviano