‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Brother of man who drowned in Trout River during welding class speaks

Fausto Martins was taking an underwater welding class when water started to get into his helmet, Jacksonville police say.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Family members want answers and accountability after a student diver drowned while training in the Trout River in Jacksonville.

However, training turned deadly last week when 41-year-old Fausto Martins drowned.

RELATED: Student drowns in Trout River during underwater welding class at Jacksonville Technical Institute

“He was passionate about several things, his fate, community in general, friends and family,” Fausto’s brother, Jose Martins, said.

Jose said his brother also went by the name “Steve.” He remembers him as a caring man.

“He was there for all of us whenever we needed him and he didn’t deserve to die,” Jose said.

Jose said Fausto was a student at CDA Technical Institute, where underwater dives are part of training.

A police report said Fausto told instructors his dive helmet was filling up with water. It then said someone instructed Fausto to vent his mask, but by then it was too late. The report doesn’t specify how much time passed.

Jose wants to know if his brother’s death was preventable.

“They pulled his body out of the water and his helmet was full, full of water at that time,” Jose said.

Action News Jax also sat down with a former CDA student who wished to remain anonymous.

He said he still frequently interacts with students at the dive school.

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“There should be a look at how things are being done in protocols,” the former dive student said.

He said there should be someone on the radio constantly communicating with divers during exercises.

“A radio communications guy is supposed to check in every five to 15 seconds to check in with the divers to make sure everything is OK,” the diver said.

Action News Jax reached out to CDA Technical Institute about the incident. They responded that they had no comment.

That doesn’t satisfy Jose. He wants to ensure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.

“No parent at this school will ever bury their child,” Jose said.

Action News Jax is looking into another drowning incident from just a couple of months ago.

We are working to learn more and will continue to investigate.

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