Coast Guard assisted two divers Sunday after they became unresponsive in the water off the Florida Keys and needed emergency medical services to go to the hospital.
Sector Key West watchstanders were alerted by the dive boat operator of the Sea Star at approximately 10:30 a.m. that a 21 year-old diver came to the surface unconscious and not breathing, but became conscious and responsive when brought into the boat. The watchstanders coordinated to have EMS waiting for the Sea Star at John Pennenkamp, Key Largo and the woman was transported to Mariners Hospital. She is reported to be responsive and remaining in the hospital under observation.
Sector Key West watchstanders received a separate alert from the operator of the Pacific Fury, reporting a 63 year-old snorkeler became unresponsive and the crew was doing CPR approximately eight miles east of Tavernier Key.
A Station Key West rescue crew arrived on scene and transferred the individual and a family member to awaiting EMS at the Coast Guard pier. She was transported to Lower Keys Hospital and later pronounced deceased.
A 30-year-old Atlanta, Georgia man was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami Sunday morning after he was bitten in the shoulder by a shark at Sombrero Key Light.
Andrew Charles Eddy was taken to Sombrero Beach at approximately 10:30 a.m. to waiting Marathon Fire Rescue paramedics and Sheriff’s Office Deputies.
Eddy was then airlifted via the Trauma Star air ambulance. His immediate condition as of Sunday afternoon was not immediately clear.
The injury to Eddy’s shoulder was described as severe.
Sheriff Rick Ramsay praised everyone who responded to the incident, including those on the boat who immediately began first aid, 911 Communications Specialists, Trauma Star crews, Deputies and Marathon Fire Rescue who are trained in advanced medical care and have the most up-to-date equipment and supplies for dealing for such medical emergencies.
“This was a very rare medical crisis for the Florida Keys, but everyone came together — including those witnesses on the boat to 911 Communicators to all our emergency responders — in order to ensure this victim received life-saving care,” said Sheriff Ramsay.
Eddy was snorkeling on the reef with family on a private boat.
The Sheriff’s Office received information there was a bull shark in that area by boaters who were there previously.
The shark was described by witnesses as eight to 10 feet in length.
Witnesses stated Eddy was attacked almost immediately after entering the water.
There was no one fishing or chumming the water where the group was snorkeling.
"Diving is a popular sport in the keys, but it can come at a price," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Evans, watchstander, Sector Key West. "It is important to check your dive equipment, follow all dive precautions, and if going out on a charter, communicate any medical concerns with the operator."
The Coast Guard recommends that divers:
• Get certified.
• Check in with your doctor before diving.
• Check the weather.
• Check your gear.
• Review and practice emergency procedures for situations such as free flow,
mask flooding, and uncontrolled inflation of buoyancy compensator.
• Don't dive beyond your certification level.
• Pay close attention to air usage and decompression time remaining.
• Don't enter wrecks without training and equipment.
• Don't dive alone.