Darrin Spivey

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A father and his 15-year-old son died Christmas day while cave diving in Hernando County.


Deputies say the bodies of Darrin Spivey and his son, Dillon Sanchez, were recovered Wednesday night in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge after they went on the dive to use new equipment that Sanchez received for Christmas.


Deputies received a call from Holly King, Spivey's fiancee, reporting that she was unable to contact Spivey around 3 p.m.


King drove to the site she thought they were diving - near Eagle Nest Sink - and called authorities after locating their car, deputies say.


While canvassing the area, deputies located a hunter who said he saw Spivey and Sanchez suited up to dive around 11 a.m. He told deputies he returned around 6:30 p.m. and found the car, but no sign of the divers.


Deputies say the bodies were located around 8:30 p.m.


Friends say Spivey was a certified diver but not a certified cave diver, and Sanchez was not a certified diver.


Assistant Hernando County Fire Chief Kevin Carroll said it appears the two divers had reached the main cavern area of Eagle's Nest sink, which is a part of the overall Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management system.


One of the bodies was located just inside a cave at 67 feet and the second was located at 127 feet.


"It was very unfortunate," Carroll said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends."


Carroll said the two divers were friends with some of the fire department employees.
Published in TBO.com on Dec. 27, 2013
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