WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 5:30PM UPDATE: A 52-year-old American tourist,, named today as Donna Zapata, died after suffering apparent complications from a heart condition onboard a 'helmet diving' boat yesterday.
The woman, who was in Bermuda with her husband aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship, was on a tour with Hartley's Bell Diving.
She had just come up from a helmet dive — a sedate form of diving in shallow water where divers wear airtight helmets to view the underwater world — when she complained of shortness of breath.
Staff gave her oxygen and called Harbour Radio, who arranged for EMTs to meet the boat at Sandys Boat Club.
Ben Hartley, who was on the boat at the time, said it took about 20 minutes to get everyone back on board and get to shore. The incident happened around midday.
Mr Hartley said they did all they could to help the woman but she lost consciousness and later passed away at the King Edward VII Hospital.
In a separate incident yesterday, emergency crews were called to Ordnance Island to meet a SCUBA diving boat after a tourist complained of shortness of breath.
The man, in his 50s, was given oxygen by the crew. He was met by EMTs at the dock and it is understood he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Bermuda police released the following statement about the death of Mrs Zapata this afternoon.
“Police have commenced an investigation into the death of an American woman who was visiting the island as a cruise ship passenger.
"It appears that around 12 noon on Tuesday, June 7th 52 year old Donna Zapata was in the Mangrove Bay area ‘helmet diving’ with family members when she got into difficulty.
"EMTs performed CPR as the victim was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance; however they were unable to revive her.
"She was subsequently pronounced dead at 1pm on Tuesday by an on call physician at the hospital. An autopsy will be performed on the deceased during the course of this week.”