Palm Beach County scuba death a wake-up call for all divers

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Back on shore and fighting for his life, Eddie Fisher, 59, was brought onto the docks at the Riviera Beach Marina on a stretcher. Paramedics were administering CPR while Fisher was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center.

What ended in tragedy, began as a routine dive about two miles out from the Lake Worth Inlet. Fisher, who is said to be from Edmond, Oklahoma, was with a group of divers on the boat Sirena, chartered by Pura Vida Divers on Singer Island.

Authorities say the divers were at a depth of 75 feet. All but Fisher resurfaced just before noon, they said.

Certified scuba instructor Jonathan Dickinson was not on the Sirena but knows the feeling when someone is suddenly unaccounted for, even if it is just for a few minutes.

"Time is extremely of the essence," said Dickinson, who is the owner of Florida FreeDivers in Lake Park. "If you still can't find them, you start doing search patterns," he said.

That is exactly what happened in Fisher's case. His fellow divers went looking for him and also contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit for help.

"We've been doing joint training with them," said PBSO Sgt. Dieter Josef. "We've partnered up with the dive community and that's exactly what happened today," he said.

After two and a half hours, Fisher was located. PBSO says he was brought back to the Sirena where CPR began. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at about 4 p.m.

"I feel for the family and the divers that were with him," said John Hayden, who works at the marina and saw Fisher arrive on shore. "It's really just a tragedy," he said.

PBSO and the Coast Guard are still trying to figure out what happened to Fisher off the coast. An attempt was made to speak with the charter boat company, Pura Vida Divers. The company declined to comment.

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