MIAMI, Fla. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes was riding a personal watercraft when it collided with a 46-foot boat in Miami Wednesday afternoon, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The FWC said the accident happened around 3 p.m. on Jan. 18 near the Miami Marine Stadium basin.
Investigation revealed a 46’ Scarab cabin boat and an 11’ Yamaha personal watercraft collided in Biscayne Bay.
“It’s not one of the things you expect,” said Benedict Gyimh, a member of the CLT FC Africans Supporters Union. “A young guy, 25 years, in the league, played for two teams.”
Officials said that Walkes was found unconscious in the water and taken to shore by Miami Fire Rescue, where he was given CPR. After, the FC player was taken to an area hospital, where he died early Thursday morning.
“A great human being,” Gyimh said of Walkes.
FWC said Walkes was not the watercraft’s operator and that the collision remains an active investigation.
“I never knew him, but I used to play soccer, so I know how it feels to have a brother on a team,” said Grayson Eschert, a club fan. “It immediately hit home.”
The 25-year-old was part of Charlotte FC’s inaugural MLS season.
“Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. He was a tremendous son, father, partner, and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” said Owner David Tepper. “Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many, and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time. The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
Sporting Director Zoran Krneta said Walkes embodied what it meant to be a part of Charlotte FC.
“We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being,” Krneta said. “The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten.”
Krneta said the club would fully support the Walkes family ‘in every way imaginable.’