Sarasota parents say son may not survive spear fishing injury

The man was shot in the head with a spear-fishing gun by accident

SPD shared this photo from the scene where the diving accident happened.

SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) – A Sarasota man is on life support after he was shot in the head with a spear gun, but his family says it doesn’t look like he’s going to survive. Jarrod Ditmars’ parents hope this story can serve as a lesson to other spear fishermen. On Saturday afternoon, Ditmars and his friend Dale Bartush were spearfishing near the Ringling bridge when Bartush’s spear gun accidentally went off, and the spear thrust itself right through Ditmars’ head.

His mother, Maribeth Ditmars said, “The prognosis is extremely grim.” Ditmars’ parents say multiple doctors have tried to help him, but there’s not much they can do. “The doctors have told us that he won’t wake up,” said Maribeth. Jarrod spent every free moment he could spearfishing. But his father Rob says the water conditions were very murky on Saturday afternoon.

Rob Ditmars said, “It just wasn’t a good day to dive, I didn’t know he was going to dive there, or I would’ve said something to him.” The parents say their son’s tragedy highlights the danger of this sport, and they hope people learn from this. Maribeth Ditmars said, “If what happened to our son can change safety laws or gun manufacturing requirements in some way to help someone else then that’s our goal here.”

The Ditmars understand tragedy. They lost a son to cancer in 2001. She said, “Tell your kids you love them every single day, and kids, don’t walk out of the house mad at your parents. Just stop and make up.” The Ditmars are already looking into funeral preparations….but they still have hope. “It’s not too late to pray for a miracle,” said Maribeth.

The family spoke with Bartush briefly on the phone, but they soon hope to meet with him in person. They want him to fully understand that this was a horrible accident, and that they forgive him. The family is going to wait 24 hours and gather together to say their goodbyes. They’ve also set up a Gofundme account to raise money for medical and funeral expenses, and its already raised more than $5,000.

Jarrod Ditmars was seriously injured Sunday in a spear fishing diving accident.
Jarrod Ditmars was seriously injured Sunday in a spear fishing diving accident.


MORE FROM WFLA.COM: provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

1 thought on “Sarasota parents say son may not survive spear fishing injury

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s