tampabay.com

3 die while diving for lobster

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published July 27, 2006


Three people died in unrelated incidents Wednesday while diving off the Florida coast during the first day of the two-day lobster miniseason.

Dwight Blackwelder, 58, of Fort Pierce died while diving in about 55 feet of water for spiny lobster about 5 miles off the Fort Pierce Inlet, the Coast Guard said.

Todd Hilkert, 36, of Palm Harbour, died when he failed to surface while diving with a friend on a reef off Plantation Key, said Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Hilkert was not a certified diver.

Joan Radford, 66, of Coconut Grove was about to dive off Big Pine Key when her niece dove in the water to retrieve a piece of equipment that had fallen. When the niece surfaced, Radford was missing. The woman was found on the bottom of the ocean, Herrin said.