Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Public safety

One man dies after boat capsizes near Crystal Beach

CRYSTAL BEACH — A 24-year-old man dragged to shore by a friend after their boat capsized in the Intracoastal Waterway died early Monday, authorities said.

About 2 p.m. Sunday, Stephen J. Chadwick of Tarpon Springs and Joseph M. Citro, 24, of Indianapolis set out from Crystal Beach in a 10-foot boat to meet with friends on nearby spoil islands.

But less than an hour into their trip, the boat began taking on water and capsized between Crystal Beach and Honeymoon Island.

Chadwick and Citro clung to the boat for several hours before eventually swimming to shore, which took them 40 minutes to an hour, said Baryl Martin, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Chadwick was wearing a life vest and Citro was floating with the help of a backpack. As they approached shore just before 7 p.m., Chadwick lost consciousness.

Citro pulled him to shore near a home at 908 Point Seaside Drive in Palm Harbor, performed CPR and got help from the person living in the home. The resident called 911. Deputies and Palm Harbor Fire Rescue responded.

Citro and Chadwick were taken to Florida Hospital North Pinellas. Citro, who sustained minor injuries, was later released. Chadwick died about 2 a.m. Monday, Martin said.

Chadwick's family and Citro could not be reached for comment Monday.

The FWC is investigating the incident.

The boat, which belonged to Chadwick, sank in an area where waves generally are less than a foot high, the National Weather Service said. Dense fog also lingered off the coast Sunday.

An autopsy was completed Monday to determine Chadwick's cause of death.

FWC investigators also were searching Monday for the boat, which could be anywhere in the Intracoastal Waterway or along the shore, Martin said.

Times staff researcher Natalie A. Watson contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

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