Florida Keys

Man dies after falling off sailboat headed to Mexico from Keys

A man died after falling into the ocean while sailing with his wife on his way to Mexico from the Keys Monday morning.

The man, who the U.S. Coast Guard is not identifying, fell off his 38-foot sailboat. He was tethered to the starboard side of the vessel, but his wife was not able to drag him back onboard, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Peter Bermont.

No foul play is suspected, Bermont said.

“We spoke with the wife of the victim to inquire if there was anything suspicious about the case,” Bermont said. “There was nothing criminal about what happened, so we’re not going to pursue an investigation.”

The boat was about 75 nautical miles southwest of the Dry Tortugas when the Coast Guard received its emergency beacon signal around 11 a.m. A Coast Guard fixed-wing HC-144 Casa located the vessel, but it took about five hours for the cutter Charles David Jr. to arrive at the scene to rescue the woman and take the man’s body back to Key West, Bermont said.

The Coast Guard left the boat adrift because the Charles David Jr. crew wanted to get the woman back to shore and because with 5- to 8-foot seas, the water was too rough to attempt to tow it back to Key West.