Tourist from Alaska dies after diving accident in Florida Keys waters, deputies say

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A tourist from Alaska has died after a diving accident off Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Kimberly Jean Kilgore, 57, was in the Keys from Juneau, and with a group of divers with the Islamorada Dive Center on Friday morning.

Kilgore was diving in about 45 feet of water at Runway reef — so named because the large sand channel looks like an airport runway when viewed from above, according to the dive center’s website.

Deputies say Kilgore “reportedly had an issue in the water and lost consciousness on the surface.”

The crew aboard the commercial dive boat did CPR as did paramedics as Kilgore was taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier. But she died at the hospital around 10:45 am. Friday, Monroe County officials said.

Monroe deputies don’t suspect foul play. Autopsy reports are pending.

Recent Keys diving deaths

In October 2021, Rainer G. Blomberg, a 73-year-old Palm Harbor man, died while diving in about 15 feet of water on the ocean side off Bahia Honda Key, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The key is home to the 524-acre Bahia Honda State Park.

In July 2021, Roy Jasper, 67, of Lake Charles, Florida, died after diving the wreck of the Spiegel Grove off Key Largo while on a private boat dive trip.

And last June, 50-year-old Barry Beckett of Tamarac died after diving the Vandenberg wreck off Key West, Monroe officers reported. Beckett was diving with Southpoint Divers aboard the dive boat Phoenix.

This photo from October 2009 shows algae growing on the USS Vandenberg, which was sunk as an artificial reef in May 2009.
This photo from October 2009 shows algae growing on the USS Vandenberg, which was sunk as an artificial reef in May 2009.
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