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September 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Two Divers Missing Off North Carolina

and the plan that saved them

from the September, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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A loud pop startled two scuba divers exploring a wreck 50 feet (15m) below the ocean's surface eight miles off Atlantic Beach on July 6th. Divers Michael Sparks and Samuel Ragsdale heard it, but neither man recognized its significance. It wasn't until later that the friends and fellow Coast Guardsmen realized they were in trouble.

"As we approached our anchor, I couldn't see any line extending to the surface," said Sparks. "My heart sank. On the end of the anchor chain we found the foot-long frayed remains of the only line keeping our boat above us."

The divers shot to the surface and looked around frantically for the boat. Sparks caught a glimpse of it as it rode to the top of a wave about three miles away. Sparks' unmanned 17-foot Seadoo Jetboat had drifted away, along with their emergency-position-indicating radio beacon, marine radio and cell phones....

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