Florida Keys

2 die in Florida Keys waters

Two people were found dead in Keys waters, including a Miami man who jumped into Key West Harbor from Mallory Square.

The other death involved a Naples man whose body was found on an island off Big Pine Key.

In the Mallory Square case, at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Key West police said Christian Gonzalez-Santos, 18, of Miami jumped into the harbor and got back to shore after swimming to a ladder along a seawall. Eduardo Ortega, 49, then followed and jumped in but a witness said he appeared to have trouble swimming “because of the intense current.”

Ortega couldn't make it to the ladder used by Gonzalez-Santos and “appeared to be drowning,” according to a police report.

At least two people jumped in to help — one even tying a rope around Ortega's waist in an effort to pull him up. They did finally get him to up on the seawall but by the time Key West rescue personnel arrived, it was too late.

Ortega was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center, where he died.

Earlier the same day, the body of a 30-year-old Naples man was found near an island off Big Pine Key. Foul play isn't suspected.

Kevin Ferreira arrived in the Keys on Friday and had checked into the Big Pine Fishing Lodge. He then was seen launching his boat just before 9 a.m. He never returned to shore, accoding to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

On Sunday, when his family hadn't heard from him, they called the lodge and realized he was missing. They then called the Coast Guard.

While that agency was searching for Ferreira, people riding personal watercraft spotted his boat near Cook's Island at 2 p.m. They then found his body on a sandbar near the boat.

Ferreira's body was brought to shore with the help of officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and has been turned over to the Medical Examiner's Office to determine the cause of his death.

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