Florida Keys

Arkansas man dies after scuba diving at 112 feet to explore wreck off Florida Keys

An Arkansas man died in a Miami hospital after collapsing following a scuba dive off a shipwreck in the Florida Keys Tuesday.

Charles Boone, 45, of Quitman, Arkansas, died at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday night at Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove, said Adam Linhardt, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Earlier in the day, Boone made two dives at 112 feet to explore the wreck of the Eagle, which is sunk about four miles off the coast of Islamorada, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

Boone was with three friends. One man, Guy Mock, 62, told Deputy Nelson Sanchez that they spent about 27 minutes below the water on each dive.

After surfacing from the second dive, Boone walked to the back of the 26-foot Bayliner boat the men rented “with no apparent distress,” Sanchez wrote in his report.

“The witnesses on the vessel stated the victim was joking and was even excited about seeing a shark under water,” Sanchez wrote.

The Eagle is a 287-foot freighter that was intentionally sunk off Islamorada as an artificial reef in 1985.

About five minutes later, Boone said, “Oh, oh,” and began vomiting, Mock told Sanchez. Mock said he wasn’t overly concerned because he had similar symptoms the day before, according to the report.

However, Boone kept throwing up and then “dry heaving,” so the men headed for shore.

About 10 minutes before they reached the dock, Boone passed out, according to the report. The friends called 911 at 1:44 p.m., and Islamorada Fire Rescue medics took him to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier.

From there, he was taken by helicopter air ambulance to Mercy.

Since he died on the mainland, the autopsy will be conducted by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner, said Linhardt, who added no foul play is suspected.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.