Who Was Ella Riley Adler? Teen Ballerina Killed in Hit-and-Run Boat Crash While Water Skiing Off Florida Beach with Her Friends

According to the ongoing investigation by the FWC, Ella was struck and fatally injured while she was out on the water celebrating with her friends.

  • Updated

A 15-year-old ballerina was tragically killed in a tragic hit-and-run boat crash while she was water skiing off a Miami beach. Ella Riley Adler tragically lost her life on Saturday afternoon off the coast of Key Biscayne's Nixon Beach when a boater collided with her before fleeing the scene.

The suspected boat driver hasn't been arrested yet, and according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the boater was last seen heading west from Nixon Beach. Adler was celebrating a friend's birthday at the time of the incident, and a first responder told WSVN they found "a lot of blood in the water" after arriving on the scene.

Unexpected Tragedy

Ella Riley Adler
Ella Riley Adler X

Tributes have flooded in for the Florida teen following her tragic death, with her family saying that "when she walked into a room, everyone was drawn to her."

According to the ongoing investigation by the FWC, Ella was struck and fatally injured while she was out on the water celebrating with her friends. "She was wearing a life vest, as well as the ski boards on her feet," FWC spokesperson George Reynaud said.

He said that officials are still searching for the pilot of the boat that struck her, describing it as "white to light blue in color, with blue or dark blue bottom paint."

Reynaud further noted that the vessel had two wide board engines, although there were varying witness reports suggesting it could have up to four such engines.

Authorities are offering a reward of up to $20,000 for any information that could lead to the apprehension of the suspect, with $5,000 contributed by Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers.

Family Devastated

Ella Riley Adler
Ella Riley Adler was a poplar ballerina X

Ella's grieving family described her as someone who "loved to dance," highlighting her passion for ballet. She was a highly regarded local ballerina who had been cast in numerous performances of "The Nutcracker."

According to reports, she appeared in the role over 100 times for the Miami City Ballet.

"She loved her friends, and most of all she loved her family — her parents, Amanda and Matthew, and her younger siblings Jaden and Adalynn," her family said.

Ella attended the prestigious Miami Beach private school Ransom Everglades, where tuition costs $51,000 per year.

The school expressed deep sorrow over her passing. Head of School Rachel Rodriguez said that Ella "shined in our classrooms and on our stages" and that she "embodied the mission of Ransom Everglades School."

"She was an outstanding student, a wonderful dancer and an active member of the Jewish Student Association and speech and debate team," Rodriguez said.

In an obituary honoring the 15-year-old, Ella was described as a "star" and a "force of nature."

"When she was near, everyone felt a gravitational pull toward her," the tribute read.