Possible water spout throws boat into Caloosahatchee during Elsa

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
In a surveillance image, Jeremy Mader’s boat is missing from his residential boat lift during Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa early Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Credit: Jeremy Mader.

Elsa left its mark on Southwest Florida. Among those was a possible water spout that sent a boat flying into the Caloosahatchee River.

When the possible watersport or tornado hit along Nautilus Drive, south of the Cape Coral Bridge in Cape Coral, a neighbor told us it sounded like a train rushing through his bedroom.

Neighbors were shocked when they walked outside Wednesday morning and found a pool cage ripped apart, trees pulled from the ground and a boat that used to be at a dock no longer there.

Jeremy Mader was out of town when Elsa skirted the coast of Southwest Florida, still bringing some severe weather to the region.

“When I pulled the camera up, I happened to notice there was something missing there,” Mader said.

After looking at his surveillance video, he saw this his boat, which should have been up on a lift at his dock, had disappeared.

“The wind and rain just turned sideways,” Mader said. “You could see the front of the boat just go flying up into the air.:

Chief Meteorologist Matt Devitt believes this could possibly be a water sport or tornado because of how the rain moves sideways in one direction before doing a 180-degree spin and flying in the other direction.

“We’ve seen waterspouts come across the river where we are before, and I’m thinking it had to have been that because the direction of the rain just completely did a big U-turn,” Mader said.

Neighboring homes also had damage. A pool screen was torn apart, tops of trees ripped off and others knocked over.

“It was kind of unusual because of the way the wind picked up real fast all of the sudden,” Rick Bautista said.

After watching video showing the force of the wind and rain, Mader is left feeling thankful.

“Thank, God, nobody seemed to have gotten hurt,” Mader said. “Never seen anything like this, and it’s just crazy. It shows you the power of what can happen.”

Mader told us he was out of town visiting his daughter when the area was receiving the outer bands of Elsa, and he’s thankful he wasn’t home after watching those videos.

We’ve shared those videos with the National Weather Service, and we’re waiting to hear back about what exactly hit that area.

The location of the boat is unknown at this time.

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