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Divers create petition to stop classes at Jacksonville diving school following drowning

Fausto Martins, 41, drowned at the CDA Technical Institute last week. Divers have created an online petition to stop underwater welding classes temporarily.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast News has learned of two recent drownings at CDA Technical Institute in the last year.

Members of the diving community are calling for a temporary shut down of the school after the death of 41-year-old Fausto Martins.

Martins drowned after being rushed to land, complaining of water in his helmet. His brother tells First Coast News, the incident needs to be further investigated.

Friday, First Coast News’ Destiny McKeiver went into the administration office to ask if CDA wanted to make comment about the drowning, and CDA’s representatives said “not at this time.”

Meanwhile, a petition has been created online by other divers to temporarily stop diving classes at CDA until the investigation into the drowning is complete.

“There’s a whole plethora of things that have happened since I’ve attended and since I learned of the two students who have tragically passed away,” said former student Noah Worthington.

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First Coast News found 11 incident reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in the last year when officers have been called out to the school.

Two of those reports were drownings.

Worthington says he signed the petition, hoping that the school is closely investigated.

“I 100% agree with the petition that was put out, and I actually signed it myself a few hours ago,” he said.

“Something needs to happen before another person gets hurt or another person gets killed,” said Worthington.

The most recent drowning of Fausto Martins has caused divers to unite in order to bring about change.

So far, the online petition has over 870 signatures and the organizer says he will send it to Governor Ron DeSantis after a thousand signatures.

“I think there needs to be a thorough inspection where and when they can,” said Worthington.

RELATED: Family of drowning victim at CDA Technical Institute: 'He was full of life'

RELATED: Diver dies after accident at low-visibility underwater welding class, police say

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