A Florida Keys personal watercraft tour guide died at a hospital moments after being found unresponsive in the water Sunday afternoon.
His was the second on-the-water fatality in the Keys this weekend, and one of several serious incidents that included a shark attack off Marathon Sunday morning.
Eric Stephen Baldwin, 51, died at Mariners Hospital around 1 p.m., according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report. His son and another boater found him in the water off Key Largo earlier and started CPR.
Baldwin was riding his personal watercraft from Snappers Oceanfront Bar and Restaurant on his way to gather his tour, when he texted his son that he needed help.
After the son and the other boater found him, they rushed him to shore, where Monroe County Fire Rescue paramedics took him to Mariners, according to the report.
Personal watercraft are often commonly called “Jet Skis,” a brand name for the small one- to two-person boats, which are also made by Waverunner and Sea-Doo.
FWC officers, members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies had a busy two days on the water dealing with emergencies.
▪ Shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, a 63-year-old Port Orange, Florida, woman died while on a snorkeling trip off Key West. She had reportedly been having trouble breathing. The crew from the dive boat she was on took her to the Coast Guard’s Key West base, where paramedics were waiting. She was taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
▪ Off the Upper Keys, a 21-year-old woman scuba diving off Key Largo was brought on board a local dive boat Sunday after she was found unconscious and not breathing, according to the Coast Guard. The dive boat crew rushed her to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park around 10:30 a.m., where medics waited for her. She was taken to Mariners, where she became responsive and was still under medical observation Monday, according to the Coast Guard.
▪ Coast Guard crews from Station Islamorada responded to a single boat crash Sunday afternoon that injured three people. Six people were on board the Sea Chaser boat when it lost control, struck a channel marker in Snake Creek and capsized. They were rescued by other boaters, and Coast Guard crews took the injured to shore, where medics were waiting, according to a Facebook post from Station Islamorada. The Coast Guard described the injuries as minor.
▪ Earlier Sunday, a 30-year-old Atlanta, Georgia, man was severely injured when what witnesses describe as an 8- to 10-foot bull shark bit him on the shoulder as soon as he got in the water to snorkel at Sombrero Key Lighthouse off Marathon in the Middle Keys.
County medics flew him to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital Sunday morning. His condition Monday was not immediately available. A Jackson spokeswoman said Monday that “the patient wants privacy.”