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Key Largo Dive boat accident

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    Wolf Eel

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 06:06 AM

MIAMI — The Coast Guard responded to a sunken charter boat with eight passengers near Islamorada, Fla., Sunday.

The 30-foot commercial diving vessel Get Wet started taking on water before it capsized near the Upper Florida Keys, trapping two of the passengers within the hull.

A good Samaritan reported the incident to the Coast Guard and assisted in the rescue of seven people. The eighth passenger—a 36-year-old female—was pronounced deceased.

The Coast Guard, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, responded to the incident, which took place at Molasses Reef. A commercial salvage company has been contacted to salvage the vessel.

“The Coast Guard is thankful for good Samaritans on the water who maintain a watchful eye and stand ready to assist boaters in distress,” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commander of Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of this tragic occurrence.”

#2 fforbes


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Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:48 AM

The seas here yesterday were only about 2-4' , especially around Molasses, or at worst 3-5'. Eight divers on a 30' foot boat sounds a little crowded, but I don't think it would bring on water. You should see the number of friends/family the locals can pile into their weekend put-put.

A horrible shame. Does anyone know the dive shop the boat ran out of?


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#3 Walt Stearns

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:45 AM

Here's the story that ran in the Miami Herald.

Publication: The Miami Herald; Date: Dec 20, 2011; Section: Local, State & Business; Page: 3B

FLORIDA KEYS - Diver dies on sinking boat
• One woman died and seven others were saved from a sinking charter
boat in the Upper Keys.

During a dive trip Sunday to Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys, boat captain John Nathaniel wrote on his Facebook
page that he was “bored” at 1:35 p.m.

An hour later, the 19-year-old who had graduated from Coral Shores High just last year, wrote that “the great aft bilge
pump went out on the boat and I’m taking waves through the back. Another day on reef almost over.”

Soon, the day would turn into the “worst” of his life. The winds picked up to at least 17 knots. As he drove from one dive
site to another on the popular reef, the 25-foot boat called Get Wet took on water in the three- to four-foot choppy seas
and quickly capsized. A mother of a young child died and another man is in the hospital in critical condition.
“Witnesses said it sank in less than a couple minutes; it was that quick,” said Officer Bobby Dube, spokesman for the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that is investigating the accident, along with the U.S. Coast Guard.
The accident occurred at about 3:15 p.m. Six people were thrown into the 30-feet deep water. Two others were trapped
inside an open cabin the crew nicknamed “the doghouse.”

As a dive boat from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park arrived to help, Nathaniel dove into the water and rescued
Amit Rampurkarl, 27, of New York. He was unconscious, but boat crew members performed CPR on the Pennekamp boat
called Visibility were able to resuscitate him. He is at Baptist Hospital of Miami in critical condition, according to Dube.
Nathaniel dove back into the water and retrieved the other trapped passenger, Aimee Rhoads, 36, of Federal Way,
Wash. She also was unconscious. As the boat drove the approximately five miles back to shore, crew members also tried
to resuscitate Rhoads but she was pronounced dead by emergency workers who met the boat at the shore.

Key Largo Scuba Shack, which opened in August 2010, has suspended its operations while investigators from the
FWC and Coast Guard determine what happened, said Mike Schecter, an investor in the dive shop that is located at mile
marker 97.6 on U.S. 1.

Schecter said the boat was not overloaded. “We’re authorized for more than six passengers. I believe it’s 14,” he said.
Nathaniel and Jaeger were interviewed for hours Monday by investigators. The cause of the accident has been
determined, but Coast Guard officials have not made the findings public yet.

The boat was built in 1980 by Lindsey Boat Builder. Scuba Shack owners Chris Jones and Alison Gracey were in the
Bahamas opening up the Bimini Scuba Shack and could not be immediately reached for comment