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Cave Divers in Florida ran out of air, says report

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On the evening of the 25th December 2013, rescue divers found Darrin Spivey’s lifeless body floating 120 feet below the surface of Eagle Nest Sink, a popular spot for cave divers in Florida. His regulator was out of his mouth and dangling between his legs, according to a recovery diver’s interview with Detective Jill Morrell of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

His body was above two reserve tanks, according to the three divers who recovered the bodies of Spivey, 35, and his 15-year-old son, Dillon Sanchez.

The sheriff’s office released the findings of an investigation into Spivey and his son’s deaths last week.

According to the report, they died accidentally after their tanks ran out of oxygen.

The diver’s equipment showed they dived down to 233 feet using air alone in their tanks. According to rescue diver Eric Deister, the men should have been using a trimix combination for their breathing supply, not air alone. Deister told investigators Spivey and Sanchez should not have ventured lower than 218 feet on the air supply they took with them due to toxic effects.

The divers believe Spivey and Sanchez, neither of whom were certified cave divers, lost track of time while exploring the caverns at Eagle Nest Sink. Spivey was a certified open water diver, and his son did not have any diving certifications whatsoever.

Because Spivey’s air hose was not in his mouth, the divers thought Sanchez ran out of air, and his father attempted to give him air using a “buddy breathing” technique.

“They (the rescue divers) further stated that they believed that Dillon panicked and attempted to swim to the surface, as he did not have his mouthpiece intact and his mask was around his neck,” the report states.

Sanchez’s body was found 67 feet below the surface.

After the divers were pulled out of the water, the rescue divers and investigators found their tanks had run out of air. Batteries from their light sources had stopped working as well.

According to Spivey’s fiancee, Holly King, Spivey and Sanchez left before 7 a.m. Christmas morning to go diving at Buford Spring, also located in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, but found it flooded. Spivey sent a text message to King, telling her they would dive Eagle Nest, and that he would call her after.

The divers were last seen by a hunter around 11 a.m., suiting up and preparing to dive. King called law enforcement around 3 p.m. when she hadn’t heard from them, and drove out to the sinkhole cave site an hour later. She spotted their vehicle, and began contacting family members, the report shows.

Between 9 and 10 p.m., three rescue divers recovered Spivey and Sanchez’s bodies.

The men had the proper equipment to dive, but not the experience and training, according to experts.

Law enforcement did not test the air quality of the tanks, the report shows, because the medical examiner said the test results would not change the cause and manner of deaths in the case.

Spivey was a Hernando High School graduate who worked as a roofer. He was remembered as a “super father” to his children, according to his father, Chester Spivey.

Sanchez was a Hernando High School student in the ROTC program, and aspired to become a Navy SEAL.

Eagle Nest Sink does not check diver certifications. Reaching depths of 300 feet, the diving spot has been called the “Mount Everest” of cave dives. In the weeks following the accident, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Gary Morse said the FWC had received one request to close the diving spot (from Chester Spivey) and many requests to keep it open.

 

Source: www.tbo.com

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Euro-Divers opens to guests at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives

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In celebration of Euro-Divers’ 50 Years of Diving with Friends in the Maldives, the team have opened a new PADI 5 Star Dive Center at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives.

Alila Kothaifaru Maldives retreat lies at the northern edge of the Maldives in the tranquil Raa Atoll, reached via a panoramic 45-minute seaplane voyage from Male. The island has 80 all-pool-villas, 36 of which are over water with a private pool for your enjoyment and 44 beachfront villas designed seamlessly to immerse guests in the natural surroundings. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt Earth Check operating standards, integrating their environments’ natural, physical, and cultural elements.

Raa Atoll is well-known for the excellent scuba diving it offers. The underwater landscape of Raa Atoll is characterized by a high number of thilas scattered inside the lagoons. These underwater coral mountains are magnets for marine life including huge schools of tropical reef fish, a generous splash of colour, iconic bucket-list-must-see marine creatures including sharks, mantas (appearing during the entire year), turtles, and uncrowded dive sites—a perfect diver’s heaven for beginners and experienced divers. We offer a full range of PADI courses for different levels. From November till March, the Manta cleaning station is located 15 minutes away by boat.

The team from Alila Kothaifaru Maldives look forward to welcoming you soon.

Find out more at: www.euro-divers.com/alila-kothaifaru-maldives

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Marine Life & Conservation

Blue Marine Foundation launches new partnership with Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance

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Ocean charity makes initial grant of $90,000 to marine parks on six Dutch Caribbean islands. Award will fund projects including coral protection, and training youth marine rangers.

Ocean conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation has announced it is awarding $90,000 in funding to support marine conservation in the Dutch Caribbean. A range of projects run by protected area management organisations on six islands will each receive a grant of $15,000. The funding is the first step in a longer-term partnership to support the islands and help secure sustainable financing through the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) Trust fund.

To improve ocean governance, Blue Marine uses a combination of top-down intervention and bottom-up project delivery to help local communities at the front line of conservation. It will work together with the DCNA to help marine-park organisations protect the unique and threatened biodiversity of the Dutch Caribbean.

The new partnership is an important development in the successful management of marine conservation parks in the Dutch Caribbean. The UK-based charity has established a small-grants fund to provide rapid access to support for critical conservation projects run by marine parks.

The individual projects and their local partners are:

Unique ecosystems on the islands are vulnerable to threats such as feral livestock causing sedimentation on reefs, and invasive species, including lionfish and coral diseases. They are also at risk from overfishing, climate change, coastal development, erosion and the build-up of harmful algae caused by waste water.

The islands of the Dutch Caribbean are also home to important “blue carbon” habitats – ocean ecosystems such as seagrasses, mangroves and other marine plants that suck up and lock away carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. Seagrass is so efficient at this it can capture and store carbon dioxide up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.  The management and protection of these blue carbon habitats is vital in the fight against climate change.

Current marine conservation measures in the islands include a 25,390 square km mammal and shark sanctuary- Yarari sanctuary- across the Exclusive Economic Zone of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius. All six islands have inshore Marine Protected Areas ranging in size from 10 to 60 sq km.

Blue Marine’s Senior Project Manager Jude Brown commented: “Having recently visited two of the islands, I witnessed first-hand how special this region is. Diving the waters off Saba I saw huge Tarpon swimming amongst shoals of blue tang, and hawksbill turtles feeding on the seagrass beds. I also witnessed the challenges these islands are facing from coral disease to issues with coastal development. It is an exciting opportunity to work in the Dutch Caribbean, bringing expertise and funding from Blue Marine to join with the wealth of knowledge already on the islands, to work together to protect the important marine life arounds these islands.”

Tadzio Bervoets, Director of the DNCA commented: “The Dutch Caribbean consists of the Windward Islands of St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius and the Leeward Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The nature of the Dutch Caribbean contains the richest biodiversity in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The diverse ecosystems are a magnet for tourism and at the same time the most important source of income for residents of the Dutch Caribbean. Nature on the islands is unique and important but it is also fragile. The coming week we will be in The Netherlands to present a Climate Action Plan for the Dutch Caribbean to emphasize the urgent need for a climate smart future for our islands.”


Photo: Coral reefs in the Dutch Caribbean- Photo credit: Naturepics: Y.+T. Kühnast- all rights reserved

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The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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