Coast Guard Still Investigating Diving Fatality and Past Incidents on Same Boat
Gypsy Blood, out of Brielle, also involved in two other incidents
The Coast Guard is still not releasing the name of a 63-year-old Pennsylvania man who died in a diving accident on Sunday afternoon about 17 miles off the coast of Manasquan.
The Coast Guard is investigating the incident, with the back drop of two prior incidents involving the same dive boat, the Gypsy Blood, out of Brielle.
"The Coast Guard is actively investigating the incident and will evaluate all information gathered (including from the older cases) to best determine the cause of the incident," said Petty Officer Cindy Oldham of Coast Guard Public Affairs on Tuesday.
"Any information would be only speculation until the investigation is complete," Oldham said. "The time required to complete the investigation depends on the complexity of each case, right now they are in the information gathering phase."
The man was "unresponsive after a dive and was in need of medical assistance," according to an emergency call a Gypsy Blood crew member made to the Coast Guard.
"Coast Guard watchstanders at Station Manasquan Inlet received a radio hail via VHF-FM channel 16 at 10 a.m. from a crew member aboard the commercial dive vessel Gypsy Blood reporting a dive accident," says a prepared statement from the Coast Guard.
"A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew, including two emergency medical technicians, from Station Manasquan Inlet arrived on scene, went aboard the Gypsy Blood and conducted CPR while transiting back to the station," the statement says. "Upon arrival at the Coast Guard station, the man was transferred to awaiting New Jersey EMTs and pronounced deceased."
The man was brought on shore on Point Pleasant Beach simply because the Coast Guard station is located in Point Beach, said Point Beach Detective Clint Daniel on Monday morning.
"We assisted the Coast Guard after getting a call at 10:29 a.m. that they were bringing in a man who was injured, who turned out to be deceased," Daniel said, adding he is not releasing the name because the Coast Guard is the lead investigative agency and because he was not sure whether all next of kin has been notified.
Daniel said the diving accident occurred about 17 miles offshore in federal waters.
The Point Pleasant First Aid and Emergency Squad, Monoc paramedics, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, the Ocean County Sheriff's Department and the Ocean County Medical Examiner's office also responded to the scene.
A funeral home on call with the county medical examiner's office transported the body from Point Beach to the medical examiner's office in Toms River, Daniel said.
This was the third accident — second fatal — involving the Gypsy Blood since 2008, Oldham said.
The vessel is owned by Brielle-based Gypsyblood Dives, a full-service dive charter operation, according to the company website.
Calls to the company were not immediately returned.
In the other fatal accident, in July 2010, the Coast Guard medevaced a 30-year-old female after she had not resurfaced from a 122-foot dive 15 nautical miles east of Shark River Saturday, according to the Coast Guard.
The name was withheld, at that time, pending notification of next of kin.
The Coast Guard received a call at 11:21 a.m. from a crewmember aboard the dive boat Gypsy Blood, reporting the woman had been missing approximately 35 minutes.
An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City arrived on scene and medevaced the female after a dive master aboard the Gypsy Blood located her under water.
The woman was administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel.
In July 2008, the Coast Guard rescued a woman who had dived off Gypsy Blood.
The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 32-year-old woman in July 2008 about 34 miles off Barnegat after she lost consciousness while scuba diving. Rescued was Francine Sinotski.
In the 2008 incident, the Coast Guard had received a call from a crew member aboard the Gypsy Blood stating a diver aboard their boat had surfaced and was unconscious.
A helicopter rescue crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City was launched and hoisted Sinotski from the boat.
"Sinotski regained consciousness moments after being brought aboard the Gypsy Blood and was given oxygen," said Petty Officer 1st Class Pepe Carire, a rescue swimmer who assisted in the medevac.
Sinotski was brought to the Coast Guard air station and transfered to medical personal from PennSTAR in stable condition.