Father and Son Die Whilst on Christmas Day Dive

On Christmas day a father and his son went diving at the Eagle Nest Sink renowned as one of the toughest dive sites in the world, to try out new equipment they had received as presents.

The Eagle’s Nest or Lost Sink is located in Florida. It is a extremely difficult dive, not only because of the depths, but also because of the location of the dive site. Help is a fair distance away and only experienced cave divers should even consider diving in the Eagle’s Nest. This is no open water or cavern diving and is not a dive for the intro or the apprentice cave diver.

At the Eagle’s Nest they ask divers to leave their pass for diving on their dashboard along with your cave certification card and to sign the log book before your dive. The Eagle’s Nest dive site has been called the ‘Grand Canyon’ and ‘Mount Everest’ of scuba diving and has been labeled as one of the most difficult dive site in the world.

On Christmas day a father, Darrin Spivey 35, and his son, Dillon Sanchez 15, went diving to the Eagle Nest Sink to try out some new equipment they had been given as presents on Christmas. The father was a qualified diver but his son had no diving previous diving qualifications. Neither had cave diving qualifications.

The pair arrived at the Eagle’s Nest at around 11am that morning to dive the 300 foot sink. At 7:30pm Spivey’s fiancé Holly King started to worry when the pair didn’t return home and called the police.

Recovery divers started searching the waters an hour later and found both the bodies in the main cavern area between 11pm and midnight. They found Sanchez’s body at 67 feet (20m) and his father’s at 127 feet (39m). The medical examiner has taken custody of the bodies and equipment to determine the exact cause of death.

The father of Darrin Spivey wants the cave system closed off to the public, this is not the first time divers have died in the cave system however state wildlife officials have no plans to close it. They say that only certified cave divers should enter the cave system. On approach to Eagle’s Nest there are warning signs that tell just how dangerous the diving is and discouraging non-cave divers to enter.

Aquaviews.net has officially named Eagle’s Nest ‘one of the top three extreme dives in the world.’ and said it is ‘Only for highly experienced cave divers and the technically sound, the descent of Eagle’s nest is similar to that of a chimney and hundreds of feet below it opens up into a large cavern called “the Main Ballroom”, beyond which are longer tunnels and crannies that go even deeper,’ 

Many divers have died attempting the descent into the Eagle’s Nest over the past 20 years but these deaths have mostly been divers without the correct certification to dive such a site.

Sidemount and Cave diving instructor Steve Martin shared a video from DRSS with a serious cave and cavern diving message;


If you want more information on cave diving follow this link to my earlier post about the rules and regulations of cave diving. Warning; reading this post does not mean you are a certified cave diver, I am not a cave diving instructor and all the information was from my own research and conversations with cave divers. Under no circumstances should you go cave diving after having read these posts unless certified to do so.

‘An underwater cave is an invitation into the unknown’ Jill Heinerth

Read more about it at; http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/hernando-county-authorities-searching-wildlife-refuge-for-missing-divers/2158541http://news.yahoo.com/father-son-die-christmas-day-cave-dive-205100519–abc-news-topstories.html

6 responses to “Father and Son Die Whilst on Christmas Day Dive

  1. This is extremely sad and I send my heartfelt condolences to their family. However, with regards to closing down the site, I completely disagree. Many people die on Everest each year but has it been closed? No. As you say, this is a dive site for experienced divers and whilst I am all for pushing ourselves to limits (otherwise how will we ever know what we are truly capable of?) this should be exercised with a degree of caution and humility.

    • Very good point Amelia! People do these things at their own risk and dive sites shouldn’t be closed after an accident caused by an inexperienced diver when there are plenty more divers with the correct certification and training for that site. ‘Start with short stories. After all, if you were taking up rock climbing, you wouldn’t start with Mount Everest.’ George R. R. Martin

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