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Coast Guard Investigating Diver's Death

ST. THOMAS -- The Coast Guard is investigating an incident in which a diver died during an excursion aboard a charter diving vessel on Sunday morning.

Barry Theil, 49, from Ohio never regained consciousness after suffering a severe cardiac arrest, according to police.

Theil was on a diving excursion aboard the Ocean Express charter vessel when he had a sudden medical emergency, according to Sam Piscatello, co-owner and operator of Aqua Action Dive Center.

The Coast Guard Command Sector San Juan received notice at 11:52 a.m. that the Ocean Express, a 39-foot charter diving vessel, was headed back to Charlotte Amalie to transfer one of its passengers to emergency medical responders on land, according to Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.

The vessel, which had two staff and five passengers on board, was on a diving excursion north of St. Thomas, Castrodad said.

Theil had been in the water when he surfaced and requested medical assistance, according to Castrodad. He then went unconscious and two of the passengers on the boat, who were nurses, assisted with CPR until the boat arrived at the public dock area, Castrodad said.

Police were dispatched to Veteran's Drive at 11:51 a.m. upon notification that an unresponsive man was being transported by the vessel, according to police.

The diver was transferred to emergency medical staff at 12:30 p.m. and pronounced dead upon arrival at Schneider Hospital, Castrodad said.

The cause of death is under investigation, according to Castrodad.

"We knew him well; he was a regular with us, and we are extremely sad about this," Piscatello said.

Piscatello said Monday he did not have any updated information regarding the incident.

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