LOWELL (CBS) – Investigators are looking for anyone who witnessed a deadly crash on the Merrimack River.

Juan Arroyo-Ortiz, 39, of Lawrence, died after two jet skis collided near Rynne Beach between 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Juan Arroyo-Ortiz (Family photo)

“He was enjoying his Fourth of July with his family. Unfortunately they took him away from us,” said Miguel Fernandez, Arr0yo-Ortiz’s brother-in-law.

“His kids were there with him. His wife was there with him. At this point we only want answers. We want the truth.”

Family members told WBZ-TV’s Mike LaCrosse that Arroyo-Ortiz was a married father of four children and a safe, experienced jet skier.

“Somebody hit him and left him there,” said Francesca Riviera, his sister-in-law. Riviera spoke for her sister, the couple had been together for 22 years.

“She lost her person. I have to help my sister bury her husband,” said Riviera.

“He loves his family. He wants to come home to his family. He wouldn’t put himself in any danger on purpose,” she added.

Juan Arroyo-Ortiz (Courtesy Photo)

Jay Britt was in the area of the crash on Tuesday. He believes there were too many people on the water.

“It seemed like it was too crowded. People were just racing around here,” Britt said.

Marshall Rogers boats in the area on a regular basis.

He said vessels on the water are often speeding, creating a dangerous environment.

“These guys are all going at a high rate of speed. They don’t go slow. You just have to be cognizant of who’s out there and how they’re operating.”

Lowell resident John Hall said he was walking in the area of the beach following the crash, but did not see it happen.

“There was so many people and so many jet skis on the water going fast and they just turn fast, they go as fast as they can, turn fast, make waves and they jump them,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Wednesday.

Officials know that Arroyo-Ortiz’s injuries were mainly to his side. He was able to make it to shore, have someone call his wife, and was then rushed to the hospital where he died.

Anyone with information about the crash should contact State, Environmental or Lowell Police.

“Whoever did it and didn’t come forward, she just wants them to know that she’s hurting and that it’s not fair that she doesn’t get to be home with her husband anymore,” said Riviera.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports


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