BOYNTON BEACH - A freelance photographer for National Geographic magazine drowned Wednesday while filming underwater in the ocean off the Boynton Beach Inlet, authorities say.
The Gainesville Sun identified him as 53-year-old Wes Skiles, a High Springs resident known for his work photographing and filming in caves and the deep ocean.
Skiles and other members of a film
crew were working around a reef east of the Boynton Inlet Wednesday afternoon when Skiles signaled to his colleagues that he was going to head to the surface to get more film, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.
He ascended alone. A few minutes later other members of the group heading for the surface too found him lying on the ocean floor.
His colleagues pulled him onto their boat and attempted to revive him, Barbera said. He was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he was pronounced dead.
Details of his cause of death were not known. The county medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy.
National Geographic's Web site said that Skiles "specializes in capturing images of people and wildlife on the edge of extreme frontiers."
In addition to his freelance work with National Geographic, Skiles also featured work in Outside and various diving publications, according to National Geographic's Web site. He has been involved in the production and filming of more than 100 films.