Florida mini-bug season diver deaths

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Posted by on July 29, 2005 at 11:39:05:

BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK -- Two vacationing Floridians died, and a diver found the body of a missing man on the first day of lobster mini-season, a popular event in the Florida Keys.

An off-duty fire rescue chief from nearby Marathon found the body of James Dobson, 49, while diving for Florida spiny lobster Wednesday, said Deputy Greg Artman, spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Dobson of Loxahatchee had been missing since a Monday dive near a bridge at Bahia Honda State Park, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Dobson had been swimming toward his boat after retrieving his "diver down" flag when he called for help and then went under, the Coast Guard said. He was not wearing his dive tanks at the time.

The search for Dobson was called off Tuesday. On Wednesday, Marathon Fire Rescue Deputy Chief and fire marshal Dale Beaver found Dobson's remains on the ocean floor in about 25 feet of water.

The other deaths were in unrelated diving incidents Wednesday, the first day of the two-day lobster season.

One victim, Robert Neville Moore, 58, experienced a medical emergency while diving with his wife, the Broward County Sheriff's Office said.

The other victim, Larry Hancock, 54, of Fort Myers was diving with his wife and friends when he signaled that something was wrong, Artman said. His friends retrieved him from the water and tried to perform CPR, but he died at a hospital.

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