As most Floridians were busy preparing for Hurricane Irma (or already sheltering) this weekend, a scuba diver became stranded in the Intracoastal Waterway near Riviera Beach. Local resident Curtis Alva saw two men trying to rescue the diver on Sunday afternoon and pitched in to help.
“It felt pretty good to help him,” Alva, 61, told the Palm Beach Post. “I don’t think he would have gotten out on his own because he was too tired to swim anymore.”
Although the press has given the story a fair bit of attention along the lines of “why would anyone scuba dive in a hurricane?!?” the real story, of course, has a bit more nuance.
The diver didn’t give Alva his name, but he said he’d sailed from Marathon in the Florida Keys to escape the impending storm. The diver planned to anchor in West Palm to ride out the storm. But after another boat hit his anchor line, it broke free from its mooring. The unlucky diver headed for Lake Worth Inlet, where he tied the line to a channel marker. As the storm worsened, and fearing his boat would capsize, he put on scuba gear and headed for the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Ultimately, the passing good Samaritans pulled the exhausted diver from the water. “Because the water was so rough, it was very hard for him to swim,” Alva told the Palm Beach Post. “When he got over the edge, there was a sea wall there. Even at high tide the seawall was probably three feet higher than the water level, so he couldn’t get out of the water.”
Local rescue authorities took the diver to a shelter in good condition.