Florida man arrested, over $22,000 citations issued for balloon pollution from Miami proposal party

MIAMI – A man has been arrested and nine citations issued to several people after an engagement proposal party on a yacht that ended with deflated balloons polluting Biscayne Bay, News4JAX partner station WPLG in Miami reported.

David Sebastian Torres-Bocanegra, 28, was arrested in connection with the incident, and citations issued total $22,500, Miami-Dade police said.

According to the WPLG report, Tom Rivas, a fitness trainer, said he chartered the yacht to propose to his girlfriend – who said “Yes!”

But hours later the event, planned and executed by Cloud Nine, which specializes in romantic proposals, was linked to pollution in Biscayne Bay after a witness recorded video showing people on the yacht popping balloons fallen in the water.

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“The crew proceeded to remove the balloons… Honestly, we had no idea until we saw the videos,” Rivas wrote on Instagram. “A very special day for us turned into tons of hate messages.”

WPLG reported that local environmentalists were outraged. Deflated latex, mylar or vinyl balloons float on the surface of the water. Turtles, seabirds and other marine animals often mistake the material for jellyfish and eat it – or feed it to their young.

In a statement on Instagram, a representative for Cloud Nine said the family business has learned a lesson and has pledged to no longer use balloons to decorate when events are near water. The post states that the company used a balloon vendor for the event and is never responsible for removing balloon decorations.

“Now we are trying to investigate the situation from our side,” the message read.

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Authorities said on Wednesday an investigation was underway after WPLG news anchor Louis Aguirre shared the video of the witness.

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