May 17, 2014

Two deaths while snorkeling

Two people have died while snorkeling offshore of the Florida Keys.

On Thursday, a Pennsylvania woman was snorkeling offshore of Marathon. She was on board the commercial dive vessel operated by Sea Dog Charters out of Burdine’s Waterfront. They were on a trip to Sombrero Light with a group of other snorkelers.

Witnesses told Deputies Matt O’Neill and Rosa DiGiovanni the victim was in the water when she began coughing up blood about 2:30 p.m. She was pulled on board the dive vessel, which started for shore. It was met by a Coast Guard vessel which was training in the area. The Coast Guard transported the victim the rest of the way to shore to meet with paramedics.

According to a friend who was on the trip with her, The victim - 54 year old Lesley Clark -  was on numerous medications and had a pacemaker. Clark was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

On Friday, Deputy Kim Trullender responded to Lower Keys Hospital after a Texas man who’d been snorkeling off the Dry Tortugas was brought in and was declared dead.

59 year old Donald Tinker and his wife took the ferry to the Dry Tortugas that morning. She said they went snorkeling off of the beach. She said she was having trouble with her mask so she went back to shore. When she returned to the water, she could not find her husband.

She said two other men pulled him from the water and they began performing CPR. A rescue helicopter responded and flew him to Lower Keys Medical Center.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

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