Construction worker dies after crane falls off barge in the Florida Keys

A construction worker died in the Florida Keys after a crane fell off a barge into the water and became submerged, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The accident happened just offshore the Mutiny Place subdivision in Key Largo in the Upper Keys around 3:30 p.m., the sheriff’s office said.

The man was not the crane operator, but was on the barge and became trapped under water by the equipment when it tipped over, according to a first-responder source.

The sheriff’s office identified the man Tuesday night as Jose Eduardo Reyes Ponce, 29, of Homestead.

Ponce was part of a crew from Upper Keys Marine Construction installing dock pilings, according to the sheriff’s office. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Foul play does not appear to be a factor in the incident,” said sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt. “Autopsy results are pending.”

Ponce’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for his funeral expenses.

“Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Lalo, as we called him, know how caring, sweet and amazing person he was. He was the funniest man on this earth and never doubted to help those who needed help. He had an amazing heart and was a hard worker,” his sister Rocio Reyes wrote in the fundraising post. “For years he grew his hair and donated it to cancer patients, and that alone tells you the type of human being and heart that he had.”