A Trinity man was missing after he jumped out of a boat Monday to attempt a rescue off the Florida Keys, authorities said.
The Coast Guard and other agencies were searching Tuesday for Brian Kowalski, 39, who was last seen in the Gulf of Mexico off Scout Key, west of Marathon, authorities said.
Monroe County deputies said Kowalski saved a child that was being towed by the boat. However, the Coast Guard said Kowalski was attempting to rescue two people, and both were safe.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Kowalski and several other adults and children were in the boat about 4 p.m. Monday. The child being towed began to show distress, so Kowalski jumped in the water to help him, deputies said.
As he was bringing the boy back to the boat, Kowalski began to show signs of distress, deputies said.
Two people on the boat attempted to turn the boat around to assist, but the rope had become tangled around the propeller, deputies said. As they struggled to remove the rope from the propeller, they lost sight of Kowalski.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to a 911 call and searched into the night. The Coast Guard said it searched overnight after receiving a 911 relay from Kowalski’s 10-year-old daughter that her father was drifting out to sea.
The Coast Guard launched two helicopter crews from Air Station Clearwater and two small-boat crews from Station Marathon. The Coast Guard has also requested assistance from a U.S. Navy helicopter crew from Naval Air Station Boca Chica.
Monroe sheriff’s detectives have been assigned to investigate.