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Two divers die exploring Florida underwater caves

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  • 3 years ago
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Two divers died exploring an underwater cave system in Florida known to be one of the world’s most beautiful but 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.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Overview of Eagle’s Nest cave system; three divers enter
2. Side view shows length and depth of cave system; divers explore
3. Two divers killed; 10 divers died since 1981

VOICEOVER (in English):

“The Eagle’s Nest cave system in Florida is an underwater labyrinth, which divers enter through a pond.”

“The tunnels contain around a mile of passages, some of them more than 300 feet deep.”

“Three divers entered the caves on Sunday. One stayed near the surface while the other two explored further.”

“The bodies of the two divers were found in a dangerous and complex area of the cave system. They are the ninth and tenth divers to die in the caves since 1981.”

SOURCES: WFLA, Sun Sentinel
http://wfla.com/2016/10/17/2-cave-divers-found-dead-in-weeki-wachee/
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-broward-men-die-cavediving-20161017-story.html

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