posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 10:40 PM
It was supposed to be a routine training dive, if anything done in the frigid water 500 miles north of Alaska can be considered routine. After an
estimated 10 minutes under water for Lt. Jessica Hill and Boatswain's Mate Steven Duque, it was clear to those on the ice above that something had
gone dreadfully wrong. The pair were pulled from the water, and resuscitation efforts failed. Exactly what went wrong is under investigation, and
Capt. Douglas Russell has been relieved of command of the Coast Guard cutter Healy, bearing ultimate responsibility for what happened.
The Healy was on a research mission backed by the National Science Foundation. On board were three dozen scientists collecting data that would help
them map the ocean floor and study the Earth's crust to better understand earthquakes, tsunamis and plate tectonics.
Hill, the ship's marine science officer and a native of St. Augustine, Fla., was an experienced civilian diver before she joined the Coast Guard about
four years ago. Her shipmates described her as a fun-loving officer who, during a trip to the North Pole last year, posed on the ice in a bikini by a
red and white striped pole.
Duque, whose responsibilities included keeping the Healy's decks in order, operating machinery and driving launch boats, was from Miami. Colleagues
said he was exceedingly professional and inspired others to take their jobs seriously.
Both attended the Navy's dive school, which is required of all Coast Guard divers.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
What happened to these two divers in their brief foray beneath the freezing waters of the Arctic? Was it an equipment failure? Human error?
What exactly was the dive intended to accomplish? Was it worth the risk involved?
One thing is for sure, it resulted in the tragic loss of two people. It must be difficult to bear for the rest of the crew.