MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A diver with decades of experience was found dead in the ocean on the first day of lobster mini-season.

Police identified the man as 70-year-old Peter Mendez of Davie. He had been reported missing at 9 a.m. Wednesday off Hillsboro Beach.

He was diving with 3 others when he was reported missing.

After hours of searching, someone spotted his body, but by the time Rescue units arrived, his body had drifted away.

“My thought was just, let’s get this guy to the surface and treat him as best we can,” said diver Charlie Kehr.

Kehr is a retired police officer. He and two others spotted Mendez underwater, brought him to the surface and sprung into action.

“All three of us worked diligently, along with the captain and the divemaster on the boat to get him on board the boat.”

“The divemaster and myself started doing CPR, chest compressions.”

Charlie was onboard the boat with Kim and Jerry. All three did whatever they could to try to save Mendez.

“Do what you have to do to save somebody’s life. You start CPR and you go into that emergency procedures. You’re trained, you don’t expect it, but it happens and adrenaline kicks in and you do what you have to do,” said Kim McKinny, divemaster.

Now investigators are trying to figure out what happened to Mendez.

Boaters on the water Wednesday were wondering too.

“We heard over the radio after a couple of hours that he slipped and fell off the back of the boat,” said a diver.

Friends told us Mendez had more than 25 years of experience diving and had recently returned from a dive trip in the Caribbean.

Kehr and the others hope his family realizes they tried their best.

“Just let them know we did everything we could to try to save their family member,” Kerr said.

Ted Scouten

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