Emergency medical responders struggled for more than two hours to save the life of a 35-year-old Apalachicola woman, who was found by her friend floating unresponsive in the surf off St. George Island Monday afternoon.
According to an incident report from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Chrystin Dawn Ferari was swam back to the beach by her friend, Stacy Maresca, who became concerned that Ferari was floating in the water for more than five minutes.
The cause of death remains as yet undetermined by the county medical examiner, whose office said they plan to release in the next three to six weeks the results of the autopsy following the analysis of toxicology tests.
“I heard someone in the crowd tell medical staff that Ms. Ferari had taken five or more shots earlier when EMS asked if she had been drinking,” read the incident report. “At some point Ms. Maresca told me that Ms. Ferari had a history of seizures.”
Ferari, who worked as a waitress at Half Shell Dockside, where her boyfriend, Juan Brenes, was a bartender, celebrated turning 35 on Aug. 3, said her grandfather Jerome Kwasek, of San Diego, California.
He said he spoke by telephone with his granddaughter several hours prior to her death, after calling to wish her a happy birthday and to see whether she had picked up a gift he and his wife had sent her.
“She was on a swim team, and in Las Vegas, she did really well in gymnastics,” said Kwasek. “That’s why I was surprised to read it was a drowning because the woman knows how to swim.”
The deputy reported that upon his arrival at about 4:10 p.m., he had found Ferari lying on her side, with a friend sitting on the ground close by.
Ferrari “appeared to be taking shallow breaths at the time, and she appeared to have some sort of foam on the ground near her mouth as if she had vomited water,” the deputy wrote.
According to a statement issued by Jason Timbert, captain of the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department first responders, upon arrival, the SGI First Responders alongside Franklin County emergency medical services attempted immediate lifesaving measures.
After finding “a faint pulse,” EMS transported Ferari to Weems Memorial Hospital and summoned Life Flight, which was later canceled at about 4:30 p.m, according to the deputy’s report.
At about 6:19 p.m., Whitley Wilson, the sheriff’s victim advocate, told the deputy that Ferari had died.
“We would like to ask for a prayer today and the coming days,” read the post from Half Shell Dockside, who referred to Chrystin Ferari as Chrystin Williams.
Ferari is the daughter of Crystyal Williams, of Las Vegas, and the late Mark Kwasek, who passed away a few years ago.
“We lost one of the most entertaining, make you laugh, always with a smile, kind soul in a tragic drowning accident,” wrote Ferari’s friends at Half Shell Dockside. “We will miss you dearly. We would also like to thank the doctors and first responders for their efforts.”
“She is the most beautiful woman I had the privilege to know and love, her soul will be truly missed,” wrote a friend.
“Beautiful, sweet, loving and caring,” wrote another, accompanying their post with a video of Ferari dancing with their child. “You don’t meet people like this in the world often. It was nothing but a pleasure to know you and be someone in your life.
“You are imprinted in my mind and I love every moment of it. We all love you so much. Your spunk and beauty will live on forever,” they wrote.