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April 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Bad Dive Weekend Coast to Coast

from the April, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The last weekend in February was a lethal one for scuba divers on either side of the country.

California's Point Lobos State Reserve, four miles south of Carmel, is known for giving divers trouble in winter weather, and it claimed the lives of Volodymyr and Marina Butsky, a Ukranian couple living in San Jose, who were diving there February 23. Their daughter stayed on shore while they went diving around noon, and she alerted lifeguards after they were still out past the arranged return time. Other divers found Marina, 41, face down near the shore at 2:45 p.m. and pulled her back to the beach. A search-and-rescue team launched a boat to reach Volodymyr, 40, at 3 p.m. Both divers were unconscious and declared dead at the hospital. The Monterey County Sheriff's office is conducting autopsies and an investigation.

Two days later in Miami, a Chinese tourist diving with RJ Diving Ventures went missing on a day trip in Biscayne Bay and was found dead two hours later, wearing only her weight belt but no other dive gear. Fellow passengers told TV news crews that she didn't speak English and seemed nervous before the dive. Lack of English and diving skills did her in. Passenger Peter Restivo told TV station WSVN, "People noticed she was nervous right away. She had a mask on, they told her to put her mask down, she didn't understand them." She was discovered missing when the divemaster did a headcount back on the boat. It seems she took off her BCD while panicking but left the weight belt on, essentially holding on to an anchor instead of her life preserver. The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation.

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