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Christmas Day Dive Ends In Tragedy As Father And Son Die

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has reported that Dillon Sanchez (15) and his father Darrin Spivey (35) were trying out new dive equipment Sanchez had received as a Christmas present. The pair visited the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on Christmas morning and dived Eagle's Nest Sink cave.
NSS-CDS, X-Ray Magazine, Dillon Sanchez, Darrin Spivey, Roz Lunn, diving death
An NSS-CDS cave diving safety sign warning of the dangers of cave diving. These signs are clearly displayed at flooded caves to help prevent similar tragedies.
Until the investigation is complete, we would do well, as a diving community, to reserve judgement and comments about the actions of the individuals involved.

Friends of the family have advised that Spivey was a certified diver but not a certified cave diver. Sanchez was not a certified diver.

The father and son were last seen by a hunter around 11.00 on Christmas morning suited up and preparing to dive.

The alarm was raised by Spivey's fiancee around 19.30 when she had failed to reach him by phone. She drove to the wildlife refuge and located their car. Recovery divers searched the waters later that evening and found both bodies in the main cavern area at 67 feet and 127 feet.

The medical examiner took custody of the bodies. Forensics technicians will evaluate the equipment. The investigation is ongoing.

The cave diving community has been shocked and dismayed by this double fatality. Eagles Nest Cave is an advanced-level North Florida system considered a challenge to certified and experienced trimix cave divers. It is likely the investigators will confirm the dangers of entering a cave or even diving without proper training.

In 1997 the NSS-CDS (National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section) produced a film called 'A Deceptively Easy Way To Die' with the hope it was / is watched by every new scuba diver, and included in all elementary diver classes, regardless of agency. This film graphically illustrates the dangers of venturing into caves without the proper training and equipment. Whilst intended for cave divers, "A Deceptively Easy Way To Die" also demonstrates the risks that are equally applicable to wreck and overhead divers.