2 males die throughout Florida cave diving expedition; sheriff says they could have been conscious of issues earlier than going underwater

Two males drowned whereas on a diving expedition in a mazelike Florida cave system that extends deep under the floor, authorities mentioned Thursday.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned three youngsters noticed the 2 divers go into the Buford Springs Cave on Wednesday, however one surfaced and was floating unresponsively.

The teenagers swam over to test on him and acquired no response, officers mentioned. They have been capable of get the diver over to the dock, however have been unable to elevate him out of the water.

Two deputies “jumped into the water, and collectively, lifted the diver onto the dock,” the sheriff’s workplace mentioned. “The diver was clearly deceased. “

Rescue divers discovered the second man 137 toes down into the cave.

They have been recognized as Todd Richard McKenna, 52, and Stephen Roderick Gambrell, 63. The medical expert will decide the reason for the deaths.

In line with the sheriff’s workplace, the youngsters heard the 2 divers discussing going into the cave and whether or not they had sufficient air of their tanks, with one mentioning a potential leak. Each then went down into the water and apparently drowned, the sheriff’s workplace mentioned.

The sheriff’s workplace mentioned neither diver had any “apparent indicators of trauma” and appeared to have the “acceptable gear.” Deputies mentioned they don’t seem to be certain if the divers’ gear was working correctly. 

Each males’s our bodies have been turned over to the medical expert. 

Buford Springs is a community of underground caverns with a 167-foot descent, in response to a information on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee web site. It incorporates twisting passages throughout the caverns; divers should register and procure authorization from park officers earlier than taking place right into a doubtlessly harmful state of affairs.

“Even skilled cave divers have perished right here. Underwater caves, lovely as they’re, don’t forgive errors,” the information says.

The cave is within the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Park, which is north of the Tampa Bay space alongside the Gulf Coast. An adjoining cave, Eagle’s Nest Sink, is considered the “Mount Everest of cave diving,” in response to the wildlife fee.

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