PLANTATION KEY (CBS4) – A weekend celebration in the Upper Florida Keys turned deadly for pair of scuba divers over the weekend.
Monroe County Sheriff’s officials said the two were part of a dive group in the Keys together celebrating a birthday. They were on their second dive of the day, about two miles off the Oceanside of Plantation key at Crocker’s Reef, when Kevin Moss, 43, reportedly ran out of air in about 45 feet of water. At first, Moss was shared air with the Mariann Radwan, whose birthday they were in town celebrating. After she surfaced, Judy Boone, 54, stayed in the water with Moss. The two were not seen alive again.
Dennis Leith, the captain of the dive boat, was following the divers’ bubbles when Radway surfaced and told him what had happened.
Radwan later told Sgt. Bogue she was having trouble inflating her buoyancy compensator while she was helping Moss and that Moss had weighted himself down and neither he nor she could figure out how to drop his weights. She said because of these issues, they couldn’t surface and, in fact, were sinking as they struggled with their gear. When Moss saw that her air was almost depleted as well, she said he took her octopus out of his mouth and pushed her away. As she was surfacing, she saw Boone swim up to Moss and begin to help him.
The two remaining divers in their group surfaced and climbed on board the boat. Leith then recorded the GPS location, then went into the water with a dive tank in an attempt to assist the remaining divers. He searched the area for about 15 minutes, couldn’t find them, so he got back on the boat and called the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard arrived and began searching. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also joined in the search, followed by a Sheriff’s Office marine unit.
The search continued until it began to get dark; in addition, a thunderstorm was moving into the area and conditions were deteriorating so the search was finally called off at about 8:30 p.m.
Searchers gathered again at first light Sunday morning. The bodies of the Moss and Boone were located at about 9:30 a.m. close to the location where they were originally reported missing.
Autopsies will be done to determine the cause of their deaths.