ACCORDING to a report recently filed by the Monroe Country Sherriff’s Office in the US, a fisherman has died after ingesting a substance from a package he’d found floating in the water.
53-year-old Thomas Swindal of Merritt Island was reportedly offshore of Marathon, trolling in about 200 feet of water on a boat with his brother Kenneth, when they saw the floating brick-like package. Kenneth Swindal told Detective Mark Maison the brothers believed the package to be a kilo of cocaine. He said they discussed what to do with it, and then threw it into a bait well on the boat and kept fishing. He said he looked back at his brother a short time later and saw him opening the package and ingesting some of the substance.
About an hour and a half later Thomas Swindal began to act strangely, running around the boat, throwing things in the water including a cell phone and a VHF radio. He reportedly picked up knives, a pair of pliers, a gaff and at one point, removed the cowling from the engine which fell overboard and sank. He also gaffed the engine, which damaged it enough that it wouldn’t start.
The brother said he threw all the sharp objects off of the boat, and also threw the package overboard as well. The package was not recovered.
Because he had no means of communication left, and the boat wouldn’t start, the brother climbed up on the top of the boat and began signalling for help. A nearby vessel responded and called for help. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and transported the two brothers in to shore where they were met by paramedics.
Thomas Swindal was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital and transferred to South Miami Hospital where he later died.