Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Search continues for lost snorkeler

Law enforcement agencies are asking for the public's help as they resume their search today for a snorkeler who disappeared Monday afternoon on the Gulf side of Scout Key.

Brian Kowalski, 39, of Trinity, Fla., jumped off a 22-foot boat to help a child who was struggling in the water, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin.

Adults in the boat had been towing the child on a rope behind the vessel, and several other people in the group were also in the water, Herrin said. As Kowalski helped the child back to the boat, he also began showing signs of distress, she said.

The people aboard tried to turn the boat around to help, but the rope apparently became tangled in the propeller. They lost sight of Kowalski as they worked to untangle the rope, she said.

Herrin said the child was recovered and is fine.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers searched for Kowalski until 10 p.m. Monday and again on Tuesday. Helicopters from Coast Guard Station Clearwater and boats from Coast Guard Station Marathon searched throughout the night Monday, said Coast Guard District 7 spokesman Mark Barney.

FWC and Coast Guard Station Marathon boats, two Coast Guard auxiliary boats, a Coast Guard airplane from Miami and a Navy helicopter crew from Naval Air Station Key West also took part in the search over the past two days, Barney said.

Sheriff's Office detectives have been assigned to the case, but no foul play is suspected, said Herrin.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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