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

Jose Martins says his brother, 41-year-old Fausto Martins, was training for over a year at CDA Technical Institute before he died.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We’re learning more about the student who drowned during an underwater welding class Thursday at CDA Technical Institute near the Trout River.

Family members identified the victim as 41-year-old Fausto S. Martins.

His brother, Jose Martins, says he’s known as ‘Steve.’

His family says Steve has one daughter and is the oldest of his siblings. Steve’s brother says he’d been training for more than a year at CDA before the drowning.

Police with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office say they received a 911 call around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and arrived to CDA to find Jacksonville Fire and Rescue performing CPR on a man after an underwater breathing problem.

The man was rushed to the hospital and didn’t survive.

Jose says his brother, Steve, was a great sibling and father.

“He was a person that was full of joy. He was someone that left every environment he was engaging in better than he arrived,” said Jose.

Jose says he believes his brother’s death could’ve been prevented.

“We’re all concerned… we don’t have all of the information. The sheriff’s department is saying the investigation is ongoing. From what I’m told… it could be something with failure of equipment,” said Jose.

Jose says he was told his brother’s last words were to tell his daughter he loved her.

The incident is still being investigated, and First Coast News is awaiting an autopsy to reveal the cause of death.


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