Two people are dead after a recreational scuba diving accident at deep underwater depths near Snake Island on Friday afternoon.
A third diver, at a less extreme depth than the other two, made it safely to the surface and is in good condition. All three divers, whose names have yet to be released, are from Washington State.
A call for help was made on Friday at 2:54 p.m. Within 12 minutes a coast guard boat arrived at the scene.
The W.E. Ricker fisheries research boat, the Search and Rescue No. 27 volunteer fast response boat, the Cape Cockburn motorized lifeboat out of French Creek, the RCMP catamaran Higgitt, a Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft out of 442 Squadron in Comox, and a Sea King helicopter out of 443 squadron, in Comox, all responded.
The first diver was pronounced dead at the scene, but the second body wasn't found until Sunday morning by a commercial diver, who secured the body until an RCMP patrol vessel could arrive and assist with retrieving it.
On Friday night, the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre handed its search for the missing diver over to the Nanaimo RCMP as a missing person case.
According to RCMP, the search did not resume Saturday because the water was too deep.
Diving instructor and Sundown Diving owner Ed Singer was one of the first people to respond to the accident. He said he was involved from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Singer said he could not comment on the specifics of the incident but was called for assistance by the charter that was conducting the recreational dive.
There are two popular dives near Snake Island. The location where the scuba divers were diving is called the Wall.
"It does get fairly deep, there is a spot that hits close to 300 feet," Singer said.
Singer said he's familiar with the area and it's a popular location for diving enthusiasts from all over the world.
"It's like a cliff underwater. There's lots of life on it so it's a beautiful wall dive and we have done it for years," he said.
The investigation has been turned over to the Coroner.
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