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Darrin Spivey, 35, and his 15-year-old son  Dillon SanchezTAMPA, FL – A father and his teenage son drowned on Christmas day while doing some cave diving with some new diving gear they had received as presents.

Deputies got a call from 35-year-old Darrin Spivey’s fiancee at around 3 p.m. after he and his 15-year-old son, Dillon Sanchez, did not return home from a cave dive as scheduled.

Spivey and his son had went out to the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge earlier that morning to test out some new diving equipment inside an underwater cave known as the Eagle’s Nest Sink – an underwater cave that can reach depths of 300-feet.

She ended up driving out to the location and called police when she found Spivey’s car still in the parking lot but could find no sign of the pair, and Spivey would not answer his cell phone. A hunter told police he’d seen the pair suiting up to dive at around 11 a.m., but did not see them at anytime afterwards.

Divers went into the cave to search for the father and son,  and found their bodies in the main cavern area. Dillon’s body was located just inside the cave at 67 feet while his father’s body was located at 127 feet. Investigators don’t know what led to the father and son drowning, but say they will be checking out the equipment they were using.

However, cave diving is serious business and has no place for amateurs. Lots of things can happen while cave diving that can lead to trouble for even the most experienced diver. Spivey was considered an experienced open water diver, but he was not a trained cave diver. His son wasn’t even a certified diver.

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The underwater cave they decided to check out has been labelled as “one of the top three extreme dives in the world” and described as the “Grand Canyon” and “Mount Everest” of diving.

“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,” says diving site

Over the last 20 years, eight divers have died while attempting the descent into Eagle’s Nest Sink. The pond that leads to the underwater cave is on a public site, meaning no one is there to check for diving certifications.

There are warning signs on the property, however. Some warn non-certified divers not to dive into the cave, while another is located underwater just outside the cave entrance. It has a Grim Reaper on it and states, “There’s Nothing In This Cave Worth Dying For! Do Not Go Beyond This Point.”

I found the following video of some experienced cave divers going into Eagle’s Nest Sink. They describe the dangers of running out of air inside the cave and show how they leave extra tanks of air at the bottom of the cave on their descent just to ensure they have enough air to get the hell out.

Also, while watching the video, I’ve added “Drowning In Eagle’s Nest Sink” to my list of ways I will not die – right under being “Eaten Alive By Bear While Camping” and “Parachute Not Opening”.

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  • FrikkenFrak

    300 feet deep? Holy crap.

    Poor mom.

  • Stormclouds

    Poor guys… D= Though that might well be a darwin award for the dad, he should never have taken his son with him.

  • Buffettgirl

    Something about all of the warning signs would have made me at least stop and reconsider what I was about to do, then I would have high tailed it out of there! Of course I’m too spastic to operate a snorkel, so the chances of me going diving like that are slim to none any way. Very sad for the mom and fiance…

  • Delaney3030

    As long as you never go camping, morbid. You can never rule out a savage bear attack in the comfort of your own home, though. Always check the shower before your B.M.s

  • itsknotme

    Should I add “Only Used ONCE Diving Equipment,’ to my list of items not to buy secondhand?

  • Sudonim

    I doubt they would have been split more then a few feet apart while diving and if something happened to the son the father wouldn’t have continued deeper. My bet, something happened to the dad and the son probably panicked and stayed trying to help him before making the decision to swim out.

  • Andrea Pizzuto

    Oh beloved offspring of mine, you have absolutely no diving certification or experience? Let’s go diving in this cave, outside which numerous danger warnings are posted. I was scared to snorkel for the first time, it’s just not natural to submerge one’s face in water and breathe.

  • beatlechick

    It sucks for the mom and wife of these guys, but even if I were a kid and my dad dragged my ass there, there’s no amount of money or fame that could change my mind about going into the water after reading all those signs. Unless the kid was illiterate, he should have had the good sense to stay aground. Dad and son are stupid. I hope this dissuades others from attempting the same feat, but I have a feeling with this new attention there’s going to be a flock of dickweeds just ripe for the drowning.

  • Mr.CustodialArts

    I dunno…that sign kinda makes me wanna go in there.

  • thebossessecretary

    Another happy Christmas Story!!!! Let’s try out the new guns next.

  • Kelly

    How awful. So they ran out on their way back up?

  • moplette

    Idk it sounds like dad left him at the first dive sight to explore the ballroom and went deeper himself thinking the next deeper level was maybe too tough for the son. Feel bad for the family member that got them the equipment though. Can you imagine it?

  • JohnQknowitall

    Don’t forget to take your mobile. 😉

  • JohnQknowitall

    Sounds like they are still investigating just what happened.

  • JohnQknowitall

    Dropping into a black hole underwater is almost as unappealing as a kerosene shower while enjoying a cigarette. I don’t care how breathtaking nature in an underwater cave may be, I don’t want to risk taking my next breath. Jesus it was hard to breath just watching.

  • JohnQknowitall

    I think the Christmas Eve baseball bat son story -and- the jealous 30-something son who punched his mother when, while decorating her tree, found his brother had been given a personalized Christmas ornament article are more so in keeping with the holiday….

  • salepo

    Silly goose,you have to watch out for alligators in the shower.I know from firsthand experience .

  • Delaney3030

    Oops. Mixed up my potential people eaters.

  • Delaney3030

    I wish I had gotten new guns for Christmas.

  • Taster’sChoice

    Hope its waterproof. A partner at my company got married a couple months ago and put his brand new cell phone in a ziplock bag anticipating being pushed into a pool. The phone didn’t make it. I was surprised he didn’t just leave his phone at home that day since that was on the list of things to do.

  • Taster’sChoice

    No, I really can’t (or don’t want to!) – as a matter of fact my first thought was how horrible Christmas will be from now on for all the families involved. Christmas day. Sigh. In other ways, I am glad there is just one of these Christmas day tragedies which is on the lower side of my expectations.

  • JohnQknowitall

    There are water proof cases which are cheaper than a new phone.

  • Taster’sChoice

    He’s pretty important to the company so he probably didn’t give a damn either way. He has me to clean up after him. Lol

  • JohnQknowitall

    Yeah, but he is still at least temporarily governed by the laws of physics and consequences for not planning ahead. A zip lock bag? Really?
    I think your job is safe. 😉

  • IamObsolete

    So mom was ok with her non certified 15 year old son going cave diving with his father who wasn’t trained to cave dive? This whole family is ignorant. I’m surprised they managed to keep him alive past infancy.

  • Twisted1

    People there do crazy things! There is a surfing spot known for its abundance of sharks. They go there to see if they can make it back without being bit. People swim during Stingray season (I myself was surrounded by 100s on Clearwater beach as a teen, I am still afraid of the ocean lol) they have been diving in that cave and others for years. Heck this is the state where people wrestle alligators. People in Florida are nuts. People in the Tampa Bay Area are a special mind of nuts.

  • Twisted1

    Most water in that area is murky and nasty. But there are a few places that are natural springs that can take your breath away.

  • MyHovercraftIsFullofEels

    The boy was not her son. The father was her boyfriend.

  • Jessie

    Please note: the female wasn’t the stupid one; and she’s unrelated to the male morons.

  • Jessie

    Underwater really scares me…. That looks horrifying.

  • Mendi Mayhem

    Is there a pic of the underwater sign? I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I’d like to see it!

  • Timebaby3

    Well there goes Scuba Steve…

  • Buffettgirl

    Can’t you just imagine some Leviathan popping up just about NOW when you look at this picture? I’m with you, this shit is too scary for contemplation!

  • JGo555

    Yeah, after that, fuck diving in there.

  • TinyCyborg

    and this is why I hate that my fiance scuba dives. He’s open water certified, he’s in the USCG, and everytime he goes for I dive I am secretly not happy about it. He always hints about me taking classes so I could join him, I’d like to see him try to get me in a fucking wet suit while I’m kicking and screaming. I love to swim in the ocean, and have my whole life, but fuck.that.shit.