Palm Harbor, Florida -- One of the men who swam to shore after their boat capsized Sunday between Crystal Beach and Honeymoon Island has died.
Officials describe the surviving man's effort to save his friend as heroic, but they say spending that many hours in the cold water can be overwhelming.
Looking at his Facebook page, it's evident 24-year-old Steve Chadwick loved the water. Several pictures show him on the water, particularly around the spoil islands off Honeymoon Island.
The area was apparently a playground for Chadwick from the time he grew up, not far from there, in Tarpon Springs. But on Sunday, those same waters turned deadly for Chadwick.
He and his friend, Joseph Citro, capsized in a small Jon-boat which they'd taken out to meet friends.
"Both individuals were clinging to the boat for a while and then decided to make it to shore. Unfortunately, one of the individuals didn't make it," said FWC Spokesman Baryl martin.
Investigators were still searching for the boat by water and by air.
Chadwick, they say, had a life preserver. Citro, who now lives in Indianapolis and was home visiting family, held onto a backpack. When they finally got to shore, neighbors say Chadwick was clearly in distress.
Jo Stimson saw the activity from her home a few doors down.
"They were doing their CPR so evidently someone was needing help," she said.
"Any time you have cold water and you are submerged in the water for an extended period of time without the proper equipment -- wetsuits or anything along those lines -- you can get hypothermia," said Marton. "Your muscles start to slow down. You start to tighten up and it can be a real detriment to anyone trying to swim."
Both men were rushed to Helen Ellis Hospital, where Chadwick died overnight.
Neighbors at the family's home in Tarpon Springs called it a tragedy. Particularly this time of year.
"Such a deeply felt holiday that you know will not have a loved one -- it's really, it's really sad," said Rachel Finnerty.
A neighbor who's lived near the same islands for 25 years says her own children would take small boats out to the spoil islands when they were younger.
In all that time, she could not remember a deadly incident.
FWC was still investigating, but from all indications, they say it appears to have been a tragic accident.
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