On July 19, 2012, Trooper Marcos Diaz responded to a capsized boat in the ocean that had three occupants onboard near the 109 mile marker of US 1. Upon arriving on the scene, two of the occupants, who swam to shore, told Trooper Diaz and Monroe County Emergency Medical Service personnel that a third occupant was still out in the water, who could not swim.
Trooper Diaz immediately jumped in the water with a backboard from Monroe County EMS. As Trooper Diaz was swimming out to him, the victim became frantic and started yelling about fishing line being wrapped around his legs. Trooper Diaz was able to reach the victim, just as he started to go under water from exhaustion. Trooper Diaz used the backboard as a flotation device and helped him cut some of the fishing line off of the victim’s legs.
Trooper Diaz then used a lamp that the victim had around his neck to signal their location to the Coast Guard. Once they got on the Coast Guard’s boat, the crew members cut the remaining fishing line from the victim’s legs. The Coast Guard dropped them off at the local marina where the EMS checked out the victim and cleared him to go home.
Without Trooper Diaz’s quick response and decisive action, this incident could have ended tragically. Trooper Diaz performed this heroic act with complete disregard for his own personal safety, which directly resulted in the saving of a human life.
Trooper Marcos Diaz is hereby commended for his act of heroism and recognized as a most worthy recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol’s most distinguished award, the Medal of Valor.
Colonel David H. Brierton
Director, Florida Highway Patrol