2 males die throughout Florida cave diving expedition; sheriff says they might 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 beneath the floor, authorities stated Thursday.

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

The kids swam over to verify on him and obtained no response, officers stated. They have been in a position to get the diver over to the dock, however have been unable to raise him out of the water.

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

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

They have been recognized as Todd Richard McKenna, 52, and Stephen Roderick Gambrell, 63. The health worker 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 stated.

The sheriff’s workplace stated neither diver had any “apparent indicators of trauma” and appeared to have the “acceptable gear.” Deputies stated they are not certain if the divers’ gear was working correctly. 

Each males’s our bodies have been turned over to the health worker. 

Buford Springs is a community of underground caverns with a 167-foot descent, in accordance with a information on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee web site. It accommodates twisting passages inside the caverns; divers should register and acquire authorization from park officers earlier than taking place right into a doubtlessly harmful scenario.

“Even skilled cave divers have perished right here. Underwater caves, stunning 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 thought to be the “Mount Everest of cave diving,” in accordance with the wildlife fee.

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