PALM HARBOR, Fla. - From the air and on the water, investigators desperately searched for a 10 foot aluminum jon boat, hoping that finding it can offer some peace to two families and a neighborhood shaken by the near drowning of one man and the death of another.
Two men, 24-year-old Stephen Chadwick and 24-year-old Joseph Citro, made it to shore on a stretch of private beach on Point Seaside Drive in Palm Harbor.
Dolores Hahn said around 7 p.m. Sunday night, loud sounds from outside frightened her and her girls.
"This is crazy, all this activity in our neighborhood and quiet little street," said Hahn. "We heard the sirens and I said, 'We should see what is going on, and is everything ok?'" she said.
They rushed outside. Across the street, 10-year-old Mia witnessed a desperate attempt to save a man's life.
"I saw this guy doing CPR and saw this other ambulance come back," said Mia.
Investigators say the child witnessed Citro trying to save his friend. But, despite desperate attempts from him, a resident, and emergency crews, Chadwick died.
Investigators said the friends left earlier that afternoon headed toward nearby spoil islands when their boat started taking on water and capsized. Chadwick had a life jacket and Citro used a backpack to stay afloat. It's still unclear how long both men were in the water and how far away they were from land.
"The M.E. is conducting an autopsy right now to determine how Mr. Chadwick died. Finding the boat could also help to answer some questions," said Barryl Martin with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We will also look at water temperature, wind speed, fog visibility, it's all taken into consideration in the accident," he said.
For now, investigators will continue to look for that boat until every avenue is exhausted. While neighbors did not know either of them, they think of their families during a holiday season that should be filled with joy. "It is just very sad," said Hahn.
When reached by phone, a member of Citro's family asked for prayers for Chadwick's family at this time.