Man charged with balloon pollution after yacht claim party arrested

A Florida man has been arrested after viral video caught him throwing 50 balloons into the sea from a boat after a proposal was made on board, police said. According to reports, the man admitted the environmentally hazardous act to officials.

David Torres-Bocanegra, 29, was arrested by Miami-Dade Police on Wednesday after allegedly deflating and disposing of the balloons while working on a chartered yacht at Miami’s Bayshore Landing Marina. Balloon deflation has been illegal in Florida since 1989.

A video of the incident went viral on the internet after MMG Outboard Division, a boat dealer, posted it on Instagram. The footage shows two people on board the boat popping the white and gold balloons before dropping them straight into the water.

Balloons in bodies of water pose a major threat to marine life, including turtles and seabirds, who mistake them for food and eat them.

“When we walked past them and expressed our disagreement, we were ignored and they showed up regardless of the world,” MMG Outboard Division wrote in the Post.

According to NBC 6 Miami, yacht broker Esteban Bruna directed the video and similarly said he verbally warned people to stop doing it. “I was pretty upset about it, this is our bay, this is our livelihood,” he told NBC 6. “I was here when they put them up and then I didn’t really think about it much at first, but I think so.” Day was over and they started jumping away and making them all go in the water, I was shocked.”

“I mentioned to them, ‘Are you serious, are you going to do this now?’ [They] kinda blew my mind, ignored me,” Bruna said. “It was horrific to see what they are doing to marine life and the waterways by just throwing all these balloons in the water.”

On Wednesday, Miami Police said on social media that they were aware of the video and were investigating the incident, warning, “We take crimes against the environment seriously and will work to bring those responsible for their actions to justice.”

Officials arrested Torres-Bocanegra in Homestead on Wednesday night and according to the arrest affidavit, he told officers he had deflated the balloons on the ship and provided a written statement.

He is reportedly facing a charge of reckless disregard for the environment, which is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of less than $10,000 or 60 days in prison, or both.

Also, a total of 10 civil subpoenas, each fined $2,510, were issued to individuals for illegal dumping.

The groom-to-be, who chartered the boat for his proposal, said in a statement on Instagram, as seen by Local 10, that he was unaware of the balloon disposal and was on the boat at the time with his party guests.

Newsweek has reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department and the MMG Outboard Division for comment. Man charged with balloon pollution after yacht claim party arrested

Rick Schindler

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