Canadian diver, 28, dies while spearfishing off Key West, deputies say

A Canadian diver died Tuesday while spearfishing near a reef off Key West, according to Florida Keys deputies.

Pieter Lodewikus Botha, 28, of Alberta was freediving with a group near Western Dry Rocks off Key West around 4 p.m. when he was found unresponsive on the sea floor, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday in a statement.

Freediving is when people dive without using breathing equipment like a scuba tank.

Botha was taken to the Opal Key West Resort & Marina, awaiting paramedics. He was pronounced dead around 5:30 p.m. at Lower Keys Medical Center.

Deputies believe foul play was not a factor in the man’s death. Autopsy results are pending.

Western Dry Rocks is an area of reefs and rocks 10 miles southwest of Key West.

Among the fish found there are mutton snapper, gray snapper and yellowtail snapper, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.