POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – After hours of searching by first responders today, it was a group of Good Samaritans who wound up recovering the body of a deceased diver.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies greeted the divers on a commercial dive boat — the “O Sea D” — as it pulled into Pompano Beach Wednesday.
We’re told that several of the divers on board found a deceased diver submerged on the bottom of the ocean Wednesday afternoon in 40 to 60 feet of water, brought him to the boat and radioed for help.
Dive master Kim McKinney said she was on the boat when the divers alerted her to the situation.
“You do what you have to do to save a life,” said McKinney. “You start CPR and go into that emergency procedures. It’s something that we’re trained, you don’t expect it but it happens and you do what you have to do.”
Boat captain and owner Jerry Trumaine said this is a learning experience for all divers. He wishes he could have saved the man but feels gratified that they did what they could.
“A silver lining for us is that we had something to do with getting him back to his family and have some closure for that,” Trumaine said.
Search crews from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard got the call around 9 a.m. Wednesday of the missing diver north of the Hillsboro Inlet on the first day of lobster mini-season.
Broward Fire Rescue says the diver was on the water with three others when he went missing.
It’s not clear exactly what happened.
“We heard over the radio a couple of hours later that he fell off the back of the boat,” said Darrin Penharlow, who saw some of the search.
First responders say the diver’s body was spotted but drifted away before help could arrive. A few hours later divers on the “O Sea D” made the terrible discovery.
Roger Tillman was diving at the time but heard what happened when he got back on board.
“One of the divers was swimming along and he ran into the body, saw it there, which is freaky,” Tillman said.
Tillman confirmed that dive gear of the deceased diver was being held by deputies and crime scene investigators at the boat ramp.
By Wednesday evening, the Medical Examiner’s Office took the diver’s body to perform an autopsy and determine the exact cause of death.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office says no foul play is suspected. The diver’s identity has not been released. He is believed to be in his 60’s or 70’s.