Scuba divers from across the nation are sending condolences after hearing that a Key Largo dive-boat captain fell from a seawall into a canal and died.
Joseph A. Thomas, 68, died last Monday after he apparently fell from the seawall at Port Largo canal around 11 p.m.
He yelled for help but fell unconscious before he could be rescued, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report.
After being pulled from the water by paramedics and Sheriff’s Office deputies, Thomas was taken to Mariners Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Cause of death is pending an autopsy.
“He will be sadly missed by all those who were privileged to have known him,” Dan Orr, retired president of the Divers Alert Network, wrote on a Facebook memorial with nearly 100 comments.
Thomas worked at Ocean Divers for about 20 years, and was known for his easy way with divers and knowledge of local reefs and marine life.
Thomas had dinner at Sharkey’s Pub at the Ocean Divers complex, witnesses told investigators.
A woman called the Monroe Sheriff’s Office around 11 p.m. “to report hearing someone yelling from the canal, between the Key West Inn and Sharkey’s Pub.”
Deputies found Thomas floating on his back in the canal, but he did not respond to them.