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Florida authorities are investigating the deaths of two cave divers

Deputies were alerted Wednesday afternoon after one of three teenagers spending the day at the Buford Springs cave called 911, the sheriff’s office said.

The teenagers, who arrived at the park earlier in the morning, had spoken with the two divers before the men entered the water, authorities said.

When the two men came up, they spoke to each other and then dove in, authorities said.

“The miners believed the discussion was about going back down to the ‘cave’ and whether or not they had enough air in their tanks to complete their dive,” the sheriff’s office added. “It is believed that one of the divers mentioned that he may have had a leak in his tank.”

Shortly after, the group of teenagers saw one of the divers floating face down and when they checked it out, they received no response. When authorities arrived, the diver was deceased, according to the sheriff’s office.

Members of a cave diving rescue team responded to the scene and found the second diver, also deceased, more than 130 feet below the surface, authorities said.

“Neither of the divers had any obvious signs of trauma and both appeared to have the proper diving equipment. It is not known at this time if all equipment was working properly,” the sheriff’s office added.

Authorities identified the two divers as Todd Richard McKenna, 52, and Stephen Roderick Gambrell, 63.

The sheriff’s office said the death investigation is ongoing.

The cave is located in Chassahowitzka Wildlife Park in Weeki Wachee, about an hour north of Tampa.


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