LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A Cape Coral family is trying to cope after a freak boating accident killed a daughter, sister and friend. Maleah Nowak died Sunday in the Caloosahatche River when a gust of wind blew an inner tube out of the boat and pulled her overboard.
First responders tried desperately to save her life at Sweetwater Landing in Fort Myers.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials confirm Maleah Nowak died of a fatal neck laceration. It's heartbreaking for her family, who dealt with the loss of her twin sister several years ago.
"She told me to sit down and I knew something was wrong. I just knew it. I looked at her and i said its Maleah isn't it. And she said 'Yes. She's gone.'"
Marguaret Brent kissed her daughter goodbye for the last time on Saturday. On Sunday a family member "Told me that she had drowned as a result of an inner tube. I kept asking for the last hour. 'Is it true? is it true? Because I didn't want it to be true."
"I lost her twin sister 7 years ago, and now, both of them are gone. It was just so sudden."
FWC says Maleah was riding in a boat with Joshua Emerson and Bill Pigott. A gust of wind suddenly blew an inflatable inner tube, the kind used to tow people, out of the boat.
Officials say the line attached to it wrapped around Maleah's neck and pulled her out of the boat into the water. "It's really hard. It doesn't seem real. It's like. How could something like that happen," said Brent.
She doesn't know the two men involved in the accident. "I just have a lot of questions. Eventually I want to find out. Want to talk to them or something. And ask them what really happened," she said.
"She was the kind of girl who liked to go out and have fun. She loved being around her friends and loved her family very much. And she just had a really big heart."
Brent says Maleah was never the same after her twin died, but was trying to move forward. She had dreams of becoming a hair stylist.
Maleah leaves behind another sister.