- Associated Press - Monday, March 11, 2019

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a 54-year-old woman has died while experiencing difficulty during a scuba diving trip off Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Kimberly Houtz was exploring a popular dive wreck about 13 miles (21 kilometers) off St. Pete Beach on Saturday.

Authorities say Houtz had been complaining that her equipment was malfunctioning before entering the water with her boyfriend. Witnesses told detectives that she came to the surface in “obvious distress” within five minutes. Passengers helped her into the fishing boat.

The newspaper reports Houtz had abdominal pain and labored breathing. The boat was heading to shore when she lost consciousness. Passengers began CPR.

She was taken to a hospital where she died.

Detectives say the death appears to be accidental but an investigation continues.

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