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April 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 48, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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In One Month, Five Divers Have Died in Florida

from the April, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

As the weather warms, the casualties mount up. On March 9, Jon Lassus, 61 (Fort Wayne, IN), diving Molasses Reef off Key Largo with Rainbow Reef Dive Center, had not gone underwater yet when he started to struggle and lost consciousness.

The next day, local woman Karen Ruth Zaslow, 69, died after snorkeling from the charter boat Floridays off Sand Key, near Key West.

On March 17, Chief of Medicine at South Shore Health (Weymouth, MA) Robert K. McIntyre failed to surface after a dive. McIntyre was on a diving trip arranged by the Jupiter Dive Center when the dive boat captain notified the Coast Guard that the doctor had not surfaced from the Lake Worth Lagoon.

And the tragedies continue. On April 3, Michael Gaetz, 68, from England, died in the Florida Keys after diving in about 20 feet of water. He'd been diving with Captain Slates's Scuba Adventures on Crocker Reef, off Plantation Key in the Upper Keys.

In the second such tragic event in four days, on April 6, Ann Arbor (MI) man Jeffrey Archer, 72, diving with Islamorada Dive Center's boat, was pronounced dead at Mariners Hospital after being brought to shore by U.S. Coast Guard crews who picked him up at "The Drop," near Islamorada in the Upper Keys.

We can only speculate that the long COVID hiatus has led to divers being out of shape, having practiced fewer skills, and taking less caution. Be careful out there.

- Ben Davison

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