MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – A day on the water took a tragic turn off Miami Beach on Sunday.
“She was very blue when they pulled her up,” said Jaclyn Hesse.
Hesse was just one of about 40 people on a scuba diving charter boat when they realized one of their fellow divers had failed to return to the surface.
“We finished the first dive and everyone was back on board and we do a roll call once everyone is back on board and one person was missing,” said Hesse.
Hesse the boat’s crew immediately contacted the Coast Guard then went into the water to look for the woman who was missing. After about 45 minutes, they spotted her.
The Coast Guard claims the divers had already pulled the woman’s body from the water and into the dive boat by the time they arrived. Hesse said that wasn’t the case. She said the crew was instructed to put the woman’s body on the dive boat instead of on the Coast Guard’s boat. It was a decision, she said, didn’t sit well with the other divers.
“Everyone started yelling ‘Coast Guard like what are you doing, how can you possibly reject someone who is obviously unconscious’,” said Hesse.
RJ Diving Ventures, which operated the charter boat, was not available for comment. In the past the company was investigated by the Coast Guard for reportedly leaving divers at seas. In this case, however, Hesse said the woman didn’t take the right steps which may have saved her life.
“They say if you ever have an issue, release the weight belt first, but she did it in reverse,” said Hesse. “If she had taken off her weight belts first and then taken off the BCD (bouancy compensator device) she would’ve stayed afloat.”
The woman’s death is being investigated by the Miami Beach police, the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.