WEEKI WACHEE, FLORIDA — Two divers died exploring an underwater cave system in Florida known to be one of the world’s most beautiful, but also most dangerous diving sites.
The bodies of Patrick Peacock, 53, and Chris Rittenmeyer, 38, were found by rescue divers in the Eagle’s Nest cave system on Monday, NBC affiliate WFLA reported.
Eagle’s Nest is also known as the Lost Sink. Divers access the underwater caves through a pond in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge.
Among divers, the caves are considered the Mount Everest or Grand Canyon of diving sites for their stunning views and extreme depths. The treacherous tunnels contain around a mile of passages, some of them more than 300 feet deep.
Peacock and Rittenmeyer explored deep into the caves on Sunday, while a third diver, Justin Blakely, stayed nearer the surface.
Blakely raised the alarm when his two friends failed to show up on time at their meeting point.
The two dead divers were found in a complex and dangerous part of the cave system, according to deputies. They are the ninth and tenth divers to die at Eagle’s Nest since 1981.
Both men were experienced cave divers and had explored the site before.
Florida man Chester Spivey, whose son and grandson died at Eagle’s Nest on Christmas Day 2013, renewed calls for the site to be closed in the wake of Peacock and Rittenmeyer’s deaths.
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I'll assume none of you are divers. No one used surface supplied air for recreational diving in the "old days".
Rec diving wasn't a thing until after WWII and the introduction of the Aqua Lung.
Cave Diving 101: Avoid all contact with the floor and surfaces as much as possible.
The reason for this is simple, there will almost always be particulates/muck that have collected, mostly on the bottom up to 6 inches deep, and once these are disturbed it can be a total grey out. Grey out + Complicated cave system = No more paying taxes for you.
Remember this system is up to 300 feet deep and more then a mile long. So even if you managed to haul the 2500 feet of air line weighing well over 500 pounds x 2 (main and back-up for each diver and enough line for 1/4 mile), your still going to need a diver every 10 feet or so to hold it up off the floor to prevent a possible grey out and damage to the lines by dragging it over sharp coral and rocks.
Dragging a heavy duty tether would have the same issue with regards to stirring up the muck. "At least with a tether you would make it back out" is what you might think. However, depending on the cave's complexity it means an egress that may take hours. It would also mean no rescue until it settled. Even if you did make it out it would mean no more diving for anyone else for 2 or 3 days. The proper tool looks just like a carpenters chalk line. It's light weight and easy to wrap around things to keep it off the floor.
However the lines are not perfect and can break. Also as I stated above even with a line if the muck is stirred up enough it can be a lengthy egress.
My personal opinion about cave diving is FUCK THAT SHIT! I never go near them.
TheSilentBird GameRage I think you mean scuba diving. As a certified diver I can tell to at least try scuba and also know that with scuba, sine you can go much deeper and for much longer, you can see sights that you wouldn't be able to by skin diving. And about safety, we allways dive in pairs, usually 8-10 people and in the case we have problems with the air, our coleague has an alternate air source.