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January 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 40, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Sad but Foolish Cave Diving Deaths

from the January, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

If there is anything a smart diver does not do, it's make cave dives without proper certification and training. But that didn't deter a Florida father, who took his 15-year-old son cave diving to try out new scuba gear they received for Christmas.

Darrin Spivey and his son, Dillon Sanchez, were last seen alive entering the Eagles Nest Sink location in Weeki Wachee, a town north of Port Richey on Florida's west coast. There's a sign near the pond's entrance alerting divers that the cave is dangerous and intended for advanced divers. Spivey was an experienced diver, but his son was not certified. Neither were experienced in cave diving. The two were last seen by a hunter, who saw them suited up at 11 a.m. on Christmas morning and when he returned at about 6 p.m., he noticed their car was still there.

After the two failed to return home, Spivey's fiancée alerted authorities. She also took a dive when she saw their car still parked near the diving location, said Denise Moloney, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "She wasn't able to find them. We sent divers down on Christmas night, and they found Mr. Sanchez at about 67 feet, and Mr. Spivey at 127 feet."

Robert Brooks, an experienced cave diver who knew Spivey, told the Tampa Bay Times that it seems 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."' On Christmas night, Brooks helped to recover the bodies.

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