KEY LARGO, Florida -- Monroe County Sheriff's Detectives are continuing their investigating of the deaths of three divers who entered the wreck of the Spiegal Grove Friday and never came out.
Lead Detective Mark Coleman says he has discovered some reasons why this terrible tragedy may have occurred, besides the fact that the men were diving in an area of the ship not intended for such forays.
According to Detective Coleman:
Detective Coleman said when he interviewed Howard Spralter, the lone survivor of the group, he admitted they did not take all the safety precautions they should have to complete the dive.
"The divers who went in to recover the bodies said this portion of the ship has large amounts of silt built up inside," said Detective Coleman. "It doesn't take very much movement to kick that silt up and cause problems with your ability to see. Without a line to follow out, and with lots of silt in the water, it would have been virtually impossible for them to find their way out of the wreck," he said.
The Spiegel Grove is a popular dive spot off of Key Largo. The upper portions of the ship have many areas that have been prepared specifically for penetration dives with holes cut for ingress and egress, and markings on the walls showing clearly which ways to go. The portion of the ship these divers were in were lower down, where all the entrances were sealed to prevent entrance. It is unknown how the entrance they used was opened, but it was not intended for use as an entrance to the wreck.
The men's bodies have been transported to Key West and autopsies will be performed to determine the cause of their deaths. Assisting in the body recovery today was Key Largo Fire/Rescue, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Coast Guard.
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