[caption id="attachment_76484" align="aligncenter" width="594"] Father and son die in Christmas diving accident Family Photo)[/caption]
Father & Son Die Testing Out New Diving Gear Received for Christmas
The Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge, located in Western Florida, is home to a series of underwater caves known colloquially as the "Mount Everest" of underwater diving caves. It seems that nickname is well-earned because like the famed mountain, which has claimed the lives of many hikers, these underwater caves have taken the lives of a father and son.
A sign near the entrance to the cave reads: “Cave diving in this area is extremely dangerous — even life threatening!! Do not dive unless you are a certified cave diver!!”
[caption id="attachment_76486" align="aligncenter" width="635"] WTSP
The 300-foot deep Eagle Nest Sink underwater cave in Hernando County, Fla., is where Darrin Spivey and his teenage son Dillon Sanchez drowned, authorities said Thursday.[/caption]
The victims were Darrin Spivey, age 35, and his teenage son Dillon Sanchez, age 15. While both were experienced divers, only Spivey was a certified diver. However, neither had experience diving in underwater caves.
The two had just received new diving equipment as Christmas gifts and were eager to break it in. Sadly, their enthusiasm got the better of them as they attempted their first cave diving experience in a location perilous for even seasoned cave divers. Spivey's fiancé grew concerned when they did not return from their diving trip and Spivey was not answering his phone.
Upon arriving at the caves, she found their car parked in the lot. At about 7:30PM, she made the call to police and within one hour search and rescue divers were in the waters searching for the pair. Between the hours of 11:00PM and midnight both bodies were recovered, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.
"She wasn't able to find them. We sent divers down Christmas night, and they found Mr. Sanchez at about 67 feet and Mr. Spivey at 127 feet."
The two were found at about 8:30 p.m.
Robert Brooks, an experienced cave diver who knew Spivey, told The Tampa Bay Times that it seems as though their deaths could have been avoided.
"The sad thing is, I told him, 'One night they’re going to call me to come get you,"' Brooks, who worked in their recovery effort, said.
[caption id="attachment_76487" align="aligncenter" width="635"] Darrin Spivey, 35, was a certified diver, but he was not certified in cave diving, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. The Florida man and his teen son drowned in the Eagle Nest Sink underwater cave.[/caption]
On The Web:
Father and son die in Christmas diving accident
Father-son cave diving duo found drowned in Florida after Christmas outing