MIAMI, FL—Two scuba divers found themselves treading open water approximately three miles off South Florida’s Key Biscayne, upon discovering that their charter boat abandoned them at sea on Oct. 2. According to information provided by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the two stranded men were rescued from the shark-ridden waters of the Atlantic a few hours later, when the occupants of a passing vessel noticed them.
Reports indicated a commercial dive boat was used to transport several scuba divers to a region of the Atlantic Ocean, about three miles off Key Biscayne on the afternoon of Sept. 2. Two men aboard the vessel, Paul Kline, of Texas, and Fernando Garcia Puerta, of Spain, swam to the surface after diving for some time, only to discover that the Big Com-Ocean charter boat had left them.
The two forgotten scuba divers were forced to tread water for over two hours before the crew of another boat pulled them from the ocean and transported them back to shore. According to victim Kline, “We were in shock… We could easily have died.”
Robert J. Arnove, owner of Miami-based RJ Diving Ventures Inc. (the charter boat’s operator) contended, “I do not know how the two divers got checked off without them being on the boat or who is to blame… We are still trying to figure that out while devising a further failsafe system to prevent this from ever happening again.”
While Arnove explained that divers are checked off on a roster as they climb back aboard the charter boat, Fort Lauderdale-based Underseas Sports owner Matt Stout told reporters, “I’ve been in this business for 23 years and I can remember just a couple of occasions of this happening… Normally, it’s a result of somebody not doing roll call properly.”
Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are expected to conduct a full investigation into the incident.
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With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of boat and cruise line passengers who are hurt or assaulted onboard, the knowledgeable Florida boating accident lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami personal injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to individuals who suffer serious injuries in a wide variety of boating accidents.