Two divers drown trying to explore 165-foot-deep Buford Springs cave in Weeki Wachee within Chassahowitzka Wildlife Park

The two men are believed to have discussed whether or not they had enough air in their tanks to explore the cave. It is also believed that one of the divers mentioned that he possibly had a leak in his tank.

WEEKI WACHEE, FL – On Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at approximately 12:20 pm, a 911 call was made to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office regarding a possible drowning. The location provided was “Buford Springs Cave” which is located in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Park at 13243 Commercial Way in Weeki Wachee. Buford Springs, first discovered in 1973 and has a maximum depth of 165′ is considered one of the best springs in Florida for SCUBA diving. The 911 caller was one of three minors, ages 15, 15 and 17, who authorities say came to the park around 9 a.m. to swim and hang out by the water.

At approximately 11 am two adult males arrived. As the adults prepared for their dive, they conversed with the juveniles. Both adults then entered the water and submerged for a short time before surfacing.

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When the adults reappeared, they struck up a conversation among themselves. The young people believed that the discussion was about going back down to a “cave” and whether or not they had enough air in their tanks to complete their dive. One of the divers is believed to have mentioned that he possibly had a leak in his tank. After a short time, both adults went back under the water.

A short time later, the juveniles observed one of the divers coming to the surface. The diver floated upside down, which the young men believed he was doing on purpose, to search for the other diver who had not yet resurfaced.


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In a short time, the juveniles noticed that bubbles were not coming to the surface, as they had been before. The young men swam to see how he was and received no response. The three minors managed to get the diver to the dock, but could not get him out of the water.

Highly specialized rescue divers located one of the missing divers approximately 137 feet below the surface of the deceased;  was recovered and brought to the surface.  Neither divers had any obvious signs of trauma and both appeared to be in proper scuba gear.  According to authorities, it is unknown at this time if all the equipment was working properly.
Highly specialized rescue divers located one of the missing divers approximately 137 feet below the surface of the deceased; was recovered and brought to the surface. Neither divers had any obvious signs of trauma and both appeared to be in proper scuba gear. According to authorities, it is unknown at this time if all the equipment was working properly.

Upon arrival, the deputies jumped into the water and lifted the diver onto the dock. The diver had died. Agents waited for the other diver to surface. Knowing that the divers discussed the amount of air in his tanks, the agents believed that he would surface at any moment, as he would run out of air.

As time passed and the second diver did not surface, it was assumed that he most likely had some kind of problem in the cave. Several members of International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery (IUCRR), a non-profit public service and educational organization, responded to the scene to attempt a recovery mission for the second diver. These highly specialized cave divers entered the water and began the search for the second diver.

IUCRR divers located the second diver approximately 137 feet below the surface deceased; was recovered and brought to the surface. Neither divers had any obvious signs of trauma and both appeared to be in proper scuba gear. According to authorities, it is unknown at this time if all the equipment was working properly.

Both victims were turned over to the Medical Examiner. Detectives located identification belonging to both victims inside the vehicle they arrived in, however their names are being withheld as one of the victims’ relatives has not yet been notified.

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