One Dead in Diving Accident off Pensacola

File image courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife

Published Jun 21, 2020 3:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced two divers who needed medical attention off Pensacola Beach, Florida. 

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report Saturday at about 0830 hours of a diving incident about 12 nautical miles southwest of Pensacola Beach. 

After reportedly ascending too quickly during a dive, a 48-year-old male victim went into cardiac arrest and failed to resurface. A 28-year-old diver went into the water and found him unconscious at the bottom. Upon resurfacing with the unconscious diver, the second diver also developed symptoms requiring medical attention

Watchstanders directed a Coast Guard Station Pensacola rescue boat crew to the divers' location. The crew took both divers on board and took them to Pensacola Pier. The 48-year-old male was pronounced dead, and the 28-year-old male was transferred via helicopter to Springhill, Alabama Medical Center in stable condition.

The incident was the second diving casualty off Pensacola this month. In a nearly-identical accident June 1, two divers from a commercial dive boat developed symptons of decompression sickness at a position about 21 nautical miles southeast of Pensacola.

A Coast Guard response boat evacuated both men, aged 55 and 66, and delivered them to shore. Despite CPR efforts during the medevac, the 66-year-old male diver was pronounced dead by EMS crew upon arrival.