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February 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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When Dive Gear Evidence Goes Missing

from the February, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Law enforcement with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is investigating the death of 63-year-old Pensacola man, Gary Franklin. Franklin died October 5 during a recreational dive on the Tenneco oilrig, around 26 miles off-shore, when his equipment is believed to have malfunctioned.

A diving friend of Franklin, Wendell Bomar, told Undercurrent that Franklin's diving gear was left behind during the incident. When some technical divers performed searches, they were unable to find any of his gear.

David Concannon, an attorney who often represents plaintiffs in diving accident lawsuits, especially when rebreathers are involved, is suspicious. He says, "This happens occasionally after accidents, especially in Florida. I had one case where the gear was recovered privately, tested in secret, and then returned to the police a month later without any record of who had it.

"In the Wes Skiles case, his dive computer was secretly taken off the boat by one of his dive buddies. It remained missing for six years until the plaintiff's attorney pulled it out of his pocket during his opening statement to the jury at trial."

If you have any information regarding Franklin's equipment, call the FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC or email

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