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Cow Springs, Suwannee County, Florida, May 28, 2003
1. Recovery/Rescue - Recovery
2. Today's Date - 5/28/03
3. Time of Accident - 18:30 EDT
4. Date of Accident - 5/23/03
5. County, State, Country - Suwannee, Florida, USA
6. Name of Site - Cow Spring
7. Date Recovery Started- 5/24/03
8. Time Recovery Started- 14:29EDT
11. Age - 35
12. Sex - Male
13. Highest Cert. Level - Full Cave
14. Training Agency - IANTD
15. Date of Training - 4/28/02
16. Years Experience Diving 6
17. Total # of Dives - 400+
18. # of Dives in Last Year- 29 Since 1/1/03
19. Trained in Cave Diving- yes
20. Cave Training Agency- IANTD
21. Date of Cave Training- 4/28/02
22. Years Experience - 1
23. Total # of Cave Dives- 59
24. Cave Dives in Last Year- 17 (1/1/03)
25. # of Dives This Location- 3
26. Last at This Location- 2/15/02, 4/26/02, 5/3/03
27. Max. Depth This Location 112
28. Dive Partner's Name - None (Solo)
29. N/A - N/A
30. N/A - N/A
31. N/A - N/A
32. Description of Dive Plan- Start - 3500 p.s.i. Turn - 2400 p.s.i. 45 min.
33. Max Known Depth - 108
34. Water Temp. - Appx. 70 - 72 F
35. Depth Body Found - 86 feet
36. Dist. To Nearest Exit - 1100
37. Silt in Area -
38. Normal Visibility Dist.-
39. Visibility during recovery
40. Weather conditions - clear
41. Entry conditions - Water slightly tannic / green on surface
42. Wet suit/Dry suit - Wet suit (Scubapro)
43. Full or shorty - Full - 7mm - one pcs.
44. Condition of suit - Good
45. Hood - Yes (Polartec)
46. Gloves - no
47. Booties - yes
48. Weight belt - no
49. Pounds of weight - N/A
50. B.C. (brand) - Dive Rite
51. B.C. (type) - Wing
52. Degree of B.C. Inflation 60 - 80 %
53. Mask (brand/type) - Sea Vision Ultra (double lens)
54. Location of mask - In place on face
55. Contents of mask - clear
56. Fins (brand) - Scubapro / Jet
57. Type of fins - Open heel
58. Taped - Spring straps
59. Snorkel - no
60. Knife - 2
61. Location of knife - #1 waist mount, #2 in pouch
62. Number of tanks - 3
63. Size of tanks - Double H.P. 104's - aluminum 80
64. Type (steel/aluminum)- Steel doubles - aluminum single 80
65. Position of tanks - Back mounted doubles - side mounted single
66. Fill pressure at start - Doubles 3500 p.s.i. - single ?
67. Pressure at recovery - Doubles 2000 p.s.i.-single 2000 p.s.i.(valves open)
68. Type of valve configuration- DIN manifold w/ISO - K valve
69. Position of isolation - open
70. Number of regulators - 3
71. Brand/type - Sherwood DIN, Apex DIN, Sherwood yoke
72. Octopus - no
73. Long hose (routing) - yes - ?
74. Regs functional at scene- yes
75. Condition of regs - good
76. Status of valve opening- All valves open
77. Pressure gauge - Scubapro
78. P.S.I. reading on gauge- 2000 p.s.i. on each
79. Number of lights - 3
80. Type of lights - #1 canister/HID #2 & #3 UK - SL4
81. Operational - yes all3 and in off position
82. Location of lights - #1 belt mount canister-hand mount light head #2 & #3 harness mount (right and left)
83. Number of reels - 3
84. Type of reels - #1 primary, #2 safety, #3 gap
85. Deployed - Primary only Entrance to main line #2 and #3 no
86. Location of reels - #1 deployed, #2 waist mount, #3 waist mount
87. Distance to guide line - on line
88. Condition of guide line- good
89. Depth gauge - Suunto (computer)
90. Reading of depth gauge-
91. Slate - yes - start -3500, turn- 2400, 45min
92. Tables - yes in pouch - agency n/a
93. Number of computers - 1
94. Type of computer - Suunto
95. Computer data - 34% EAN, max. depth 108 feet
96. Additional equipment - 2 zipper pouch, digital dive watch information n/a
97. Equipment rented or loaned- no
98. From who - n/a
99. Overall condition of equipment- good
100. Description of body - Facing out at restriction, Bloated, cyanotic, rigored
101. Report prepared by - Dick Schwalm
102. Address - 605 Liberty Street Middletown, In. 47356
103. Recovery team members- Lamar Hires, Bob Janowski, Dan Gualt, Dennis Mitchell
104. Law Enforcement - Mary Lou Rameriz (386)362-2222, Suwannee County Sheriff's Office
If details in the informal description deviate from the data above, the data above is the defining authority.
On May 24, 2003, Suwannee County Sheriff's Office was notified of
a cave diver overdue from a dive at Cow Springs, located east of
Luraville in Suwannee County.
The diver was last seen filling tanks at a local dive facility and
had planned to do a late dive the evening of May 23rd. Due to a mix up in
communications, the diver was not discovered overdue until approximately
12 noon on Saturday May 24th. At that time the local law enforcement
and recovery divers where dispatched to the site.
The diver's van was found locked inside the gate at Cow Springs.
Sheriff's Deputies where able to gain access to the van and determined
all gear to make a cave dive was not present. At 2:29 p.m. recovery
divers, Lamar Hires and Bob Janowski, entered the water to conduct the
search. One minute later divers surfaced to report the lost diver's
guideline reel was in place heading in the upstream direction. Recovery
divers continued the dive and at 3:30 p.m. returned with the victim's
The body was located approximately 1100 feet from the entrance, on
the main line, at a depth of 86 feet. The male victim was diving solo and
appeared to be exiting the cave system. The victim was coming through
a restriction where the cave makes a drop off.
Observations at the time the victim's body was located showed no obvious
signs of trauma. The victim's mask was in place, but the victim's
regulator was not in his mouth. Back mounted doubles (120 cu.ft. H.P.
cylinders) had 2000 p.s.i. still available with both regulators working.
An aluminum 80 cu.ft. "buddy bottle" also showed 2000 p.s.i. remaining,
and the second stage un-clipped but not deployed. The primary light was
in the off position, and 2 backup lights where off and stowed. All
lights were functional. Information on the victim's dive computer is
not available at this time due to lock out.
A second team of divers (Dan Gault and Dennis Mitchell) where sent
in at 4:03 p.m. to recover all remaining equipment not brought out with
the victim. The second dive team surfaced at 4:47 p.m. The equipment was
turned over to law enforcement and the scene was cleared at 5:05 p.m.
Report submitted by Dick Schwalm
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