UPDATE 8/27/18: A 67-year old Virginia man who was diving on a hookah rig died Friday afternoon in the waters near Big Pine Key.
According to reports, Frederick Jenkins was diving for lobster on a hookah rig with two friends about 11 a.m. in 15- to 20-feet of water about five miles offshore. Jenkins and another man were in the water while the third was in the boat when air lines on the hookah rig became tangled.
Jenkins surfaced and the man on the boat threw him a life ring. Jenkins reached for it but then disappeared under the water. The other diver surfaced about 50 feet away and the man on the boat made him aware that Jenkins was having trouble.
The other diver found Jenkins unconscious and CPR began when the he was removed from the water. The other two men radioed the Coast Guard and shot a flare. A commercial fishing vessel stopped to help.
Jenkins brought unresponsive to the Old Wooden Bridge between Big Pine Key and No Name Key. The Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sheriff’s Office responded.
He was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1 p.m. An autopsy is scheduled.
Hookah diving does not require the diver to use traditional dive tanks. Instead, the air is supplied from the surface using a gas or battery-powered air compressor from the boat that reaches the diver through tubes. No scuba dive certification is required to hookah dive.
See related story: (Man Dies While Snorkeling in Dry Tortugas National Park)
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