Family in shock after spearfishing accident

SARASOTA (FOX 13) -Jarrod Ditmars left home on July 4 and told his dad he was going spearfishing, but a tragic accident left him in the hospital.  Now his parents are praying for a miracle.

"He said, 'Dad, this is my passion. I love this,'" said Rob Ditmars.

Jarrod followed closely in his father's footsteps.  Spearfishing came naturally to them both.

"I always said, be careful and he said, 'Don't worry, Dad, I'll be fine," Rob continued.

His parents, Rob and Maribeth, had their concerns, but one never dawned on them.

"It never once occurred to us that he would get shot by a spear gun.  That thought never crossed our mind," said Maribeth.

On Saturday, around 2 in the afternoon, Sarasota police said Jarrod was spearfishing with 24-year-old Dale Bartush.  They were near the Sarasota Yatch Club when Bartush's gun went off by accident.  His arrow hit Jerrod in the head.

"There was no safety on the spear gun. I don't know if it had one and it wasn't engaged or if it never had one," said Maribeth.

Jarrod's family has been given little hope that he will survive.  Right now, he is on life support

"The doctors have told us he won't wake up," Maribeth continued.

Now they are begging the spearfishing community to pay close attention.

"Spear guns are as powerful as guns and they are regulated. You have to have a permit to have one, but not spear guns," said Rob.

At Economy Tackle, Randy Powell said the tragedy offers an important reminder about safety.  While there are no regulations on the sport, Powell said common sense is key.

He reminds those who participate in the sport to always point the gun down and to keep a dive flag nearby.

"This is a very powerful tool.  It could shoot through a person, no problem," said Powell.

The Ditmars are numb from the last two days.  While the accident may take the life of their son, they have found peace in forgiveness.

"I told him I forgave him and I'm not upset with him. He is very distraught, just as much as we are," Rob added.

Jarrod is on life support.  His family said they will wait 24 hours before making a decision.

No charges were filed against Bartush; police said the tragedy is an accident.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family's medical expenses: http://www.gofundme.com/ymp84c

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