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Christmas tragedy for father, son who drown cave diving | News

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Christmas tragedy for father, son who drown cave diving

Weeki Wachee, Florida -- It was a tragedy on Christmas Day after a father and his teenage son died while underwater cave diving in Hernando County.

Darrin Spivey, 35, and his 15-year-old son Dillon Sanchez drowned while attempting to cave dive in the Eagles Next Sink located in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. They were trying out new diving equipment Dillon received for Christmas. Darrin was a certified diver -- although not a certified cave diver. His son was not a certified diver. 

See Also: Video of the underwater cave Eagle's Nest

"It is something that was suppose to be good thing that turned tragic on Christmas day," says Denise Maloney, Public Information Officer for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Darrin Spivey's fiancee contacted the Hernando County Sheriff's Office around 3 p.m. after she was unable to reach them. She even drove out to Eagle's Nest, where she found their car. But Darrin and Dillon were nowhere to be found.

At 8:30 p.m. certified underwater recovery divers entered the water, and a short time later found the father and son's bodies in separate caves. 

"Family members are very distraught about this," says Maloney.

News that both him and his son drowned on Christmas day made it to hard for family and neighbors to go on camera.

Eagle's Nest is a large cave system on the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area property near Weeki Wachee.

At least six other people have died while diving at Eagle's Nest since 1981.

Brett Hemphill, one of the certified underwater recovery divers, said the news of the deaths unfortunately didn't come as a shock.

"The father was noted saying he was going to get gear but train later, and that led to his unfortunate truth," says Hemphill.

Hemphill says he has recovered bodies from Eagle Nest Sink and many times it's divers who aren't prepared to tackle the underwater beast which he says is the Mouth Everest of underwater caves. 

"You can enter water and be in 200 ft in a minute," says Hemphill.

"Other people need to know training is available and if you don't have it, you need to get it," says Hemphill. "It was an unfortunate tragedy."

A tragedy that friends say came way too soon for this father and son.

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