A Florida man was arrested and nine people were issued around $25,000 in citations after an engagement proposal party ended with deflated balloons scattered throughout the waters of Biscayne Bay, authorities said.
According to WPLG, Tom Rivas chartered a yacht and hired Cloud Nine, a company that helps orchestrate romantic events, so he could propose to his girlfriend.
During the cruise, video was shot that allegedly shows guests on the yacht popping balloons, which then went into the water.
Rivas claimed on Instagram that he was inside the yacht and “had no idea” the balloons were polluting the bay until he saw the videos.
Rivas, a fitness coach, noted the yacht’s crew attempted to remove the balloons from the water.
“A very special day for us has turned into tons of hate messages of people assuming it was us doing this horrible act,” he wrote on social media.
David Sebastian Torres-Bocanegra, 28, who was working on the yacht, was arrested for allegedly disposing of around 50 balloons, an arrest form states, WPLG reported.
Cloud Nine said the company will no longer provide balloons for events that take place near water.
The Miami-Dade Police Department said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
“We take crimes against the environment seriously and will work to bring the individuals responsible for their actions to justice,” police said.