Seacrest diver accident update: Fiancee says he didn’t survive

This just in as a comment below our original report, posted there by Reasa Shuck, who says the diver was her fiance’, and included details on the underwater proposal that WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli learned about at the scene. Reasa identifies her fiance as Joshua Magee. (Update: Less than an hour after we first published this report, authorities confirmed the diver’s death, though without officially releasing his name.):

I am the diver’s fiancee who had a accident at Alki Yesterday afternoon. He wasn’t able to be revived. He surfaced to tell me he was okay and went back under a little while later he surfaced I waved to show him where I was on shore. He went back down and then came up a bit later and screamed help me. I was calling him telling him I was on my way. I got other divers’ attention to where he was and to try to get to him. I tried swimming to him but the water was too cold. Meanwhile other people on the shore called 911. When they pulled him from the water the diver was not breathing and they started rescue breaths. The emergency crews were there to take over after that. He was taken to the hospital and they were still trying to revive him but were not able to. The diver’s name was Joshua Magee and he was a great person and my fiance. Here is the story that Josh wrote about our engagement.

“Ok: If you got this, then it means that I give a rats booty about you. What, you think I keep friends around just for the hell of it? No. I’m done with that game. And I want you to know of a very significant development in my life. As you know, I have been dating the amazing Reasa, for a little over a year now. And she has become an incredible, and irreplaceable part of my life. I truly could not imagine my life without her by my side, nor do I ever want to. With that said, you can probably guess what my next step would be: go on a badass scuba dive, right? What, you didn’t see that coming? Ok, I’ll explain: On Oct. 15th (our 1 year anniversary), I got her SCUBA lessons. “Babe, that’s really cool, but not very romantic,” she said.

“Despite her disappointment, she was a great sport. She took her nightly classes, and passed all of her deep dives with flying colors. Once she was certified, my plan began to unfold. Oh yes, I had a badass plan to go with the badass love I had for this unknowing damsel.

“So, Nov. 24th, I took my soon to be bride to the San Juan Islands, to the beautiful Keystone Jetty, and took our very first dive together. Her trust in me to keep her safe made me feel incredible. I tried to protect her from all the huge sea life there, but I have to admit that a face-to-face encounter with a Giant Pacific Octopus scared the poop out of me, and I franticly swam away without my precious dive buddy. Sorry babe. Anyway, once I gained my composure, I called my love to me. I signaled that I was getting low on air, and it was time to search for a seashell memento of our first dive together, and head for the surface.

“As she began searching, I pulled out the clamshell that I had put together. It was a beautiful shell with purple and white lines. I epoxied the two halves together with an operational hinge, and a rubber-coated clip to hold her ring. No, not the REAL ring, are you crazy?! It was a cheap-o for the dive.

“Now as you have already realized I’m sure, I put a lot of work into this clamshell. So I didn’t want it to get broken before I could pop my big question. So I put it in a Tupperware container to protect it. But one small detail that I did not consider, (anyone that is a diver knows where this going) is that under the pressure of the water, I could not open the Tupperware to save my life! It suctioned closed so tightly that I was truly terrified! I clawed at it, and slammed it against a rock, trying to get it open. I even tried to use my teeth to get it open – sorry mom. But even that didn’t work. Finally I thought to pry it open with my dive knife. Mind you all this, without her seeing my struggle!

“Once I got the shell free, I called her over, and pointed out the great shell sitting in the sand. She expressed her excitement, and reached for the colorful shell. Of course I beat her to it, and scooped it up. I opened the clamshell to reveal a gorgeous ring, and the words on the inside that read ‘Marry me?’.

“Once she realized what I was doing and read the inscription, she eagerly shook her head yes! Was my job done? Oh hell no! If you know me at all, you know better than to think I would let her off that easily.

“As I took the ring out of the shell, and handed it to her, I intentionally dropped it! It sank into the seafloor silt, and was gone forever. I wrote on our underwater slate that I dropped it, and did she see where it fell? She realized the huge problem at hand, and began to frantically search for the ring in the seabed.

“I let her panic for a minute or so, and even pretended to look for the lost ring, and then I wrote on the slate that the real ring was waiting in the truck.

“Yeah, she will probably kill me at some point for this one. Give it your best-shot babe, I don’t sweat you!”

(After sharing that story, Reasa continues in her comment posting): Thank you to the dive community for all of your help and support.

Josh Magee also shared the story of his engagement to Reasa on a MySpace page we found, where his profile quote was a book passage from Stephen Harrigan‘s “Water and Light: A Diver’s Journey,” including “Scuba diving, from the beginning, had an air of dangerous allure. Every landlocked schoolboy knew of its intriguing hazards … and rapture of the deep, which took away his reason, filled his heart with false contentment, and drew him down into the ocean gloom.”

The last diving death at Seacrest was five months ago; 43-year-old Wayne Hernandez died July 31st. One month before that, a diver died near Alki Point on July 1st.

20 Replies to "Seacrest diver accident update: Fiancee says he didn't survive"

  • k January 6, 2008 (12:30 pm)

    reasa-so sorry for your loss. joshua sounded like a wonderful man.

  • JT January 6, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    Reasa – thank-you for taking the time to share your story with a group of strangers who were merely curious of a news item. You personalized the story and gave us a glimpse of the love Joshua had for you. To you and all his friends, my deepest sympathy.

  • Lachlan January 6, 2008 (1:24 pm)

    My condolences, Reasa. It was clear you and Joshua had a very special relationship. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story with us.

  • The House January 6, 2008 (3:15 pm)

    My condolences as well.

    This is the 3rd or 4th incident in recent memory regarding scuba divers being resuced in the past year or so. I think it’s time to stop scuba diving down there.

  • CW January 6, 2008 (6:58 pm)

    This is such a tragedy for all involved. I do not believe that scuba should be stopped as was recently mentioned, however, I do believe that buddy safety should be emphasized in diving. one of the primary rules in diving is not to dive alone, and although the reports state that there were others diving around him, they were not his buddy.

    I am so sorry for your personal loss, and the loss of a fellow avid diver.

  • JumboJim January 6, 2008 (7:57 pm)

    House, as far as I can tell from my reading of the various incidents, there isn’t anything unique to the area that has caused the problems. Its not an area that is known to have strong currents, underwater hazards, etc.

    I think it may just be that this is such a popular area, epecially with newer divers that more accidents are going to happen there. Its a shame no matter the cause though.

    As an inexperienced diver I find these incidents really make me think twice about the physical condition I need to have to dive safely – right now my fitness isn’t where it should be and I don’t dive because of that.

  • sassy January 6, 2008 (11:24 pm)

    Reasa – my heart goes out to you – thank you for sharing such a heartfelt engagement story.
    Best to you in 2008

  • Amanda January 7, 2008 (7:39 am)

    Reasa, we are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    We love you,

    Amanda & Jesse Brittcomer

  • Matt January 7, 2008 (10:23 am)

    Forbidding diving at Alki is a bad idea. It would accomplish nothing other than moving divers to another spot. Maybe even a more challenging spot, because Alki is nice and easy. Certainly a less convenient spot.

    Would you rather have more deaths as long as they were out of sight, out of mind? Maybe we should ban motorcycles while we are trying to help people. No one needs one of those deathtraps.

    Anyway, the problem isn’t the location, it’s the handful of divers who exceed their experience level and get into trouble. And that will happen anywhere.

    Divers have as much right to be there as fishermen or anyone else.

  • AP January 7, 2008 (10:37 am)

    House- Cove I, II, and III are very popular dive sites for all levels and are used for training/instruction. I both instruct and dive at Alki

    Everything jumbojim said previously is true.

    To suggest ending diving due in the area due to these incidents is like suggesting we stop allowing people to walk/ride bikes/ etc on alki. Its sad to say, but accidents happen. And diving is a sport/passion/hobby where there is a certain amount of risk.

    To be perfectly honest, at least at Alki there is a high chance that if something unfortunate happens that there are usually a few divers around that know how to help and its close to medical facilities that are trained and set up for diving related injuries.

    What can be certain is that Joshua passed doing what he enjoyed. It was unfortunate, and it never should happened, but at least he was doing something that brought him a great amount of joy.

    Reasa our thoughts go out to you!


  • 4thesound January 7, 2008 (11:28 am)

    Tragedy, yes. My heart goes out to all the loved ones who lost something special at cove 2. Scuba is not to blame. People are given one life and they live it as they choose. Some do die. They die doing something they love.
    We the diving community feel the loss when one of our family is no longer there to dive with. It is a great sport I have enjoyed for 35 years now. It taught me to respect the Sound and life above and below the water. Josh will be there when I turn my air valve on. The tears won’t be visible but there.

  • winters January 7, 2008 (1:03 pm)

    We will miss Josh very very much he was a part of our family We love you Josh…and Reasa you are a good person and I see why Josh was to taken with you. God Bless the. Winters Family

  • Amber January 8, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    Josh was a friend of mine… Distance kept us from talking often but I knew he was very much in love with Reasa.

    He will truly be missed…

  • Josh Smith January 8, 2008 (10:35 pm)

    “My condolences as well.

    This is the 3rd or 4th incident in recent memory regarding scuba divers being resuced in the past year or so. I think it’s time to stop scuba diving down there.”

    I am really sorry to hear about this death- as an avid diver, it has affected me more than a non-diver could understand- I didn’t know Josh, But I know a few people who did. My heart goes out to his fiancee- I can hardly imagine anything more horrible than watching a loved one die, helplessly.

    But I have to take exception to the comment I quoted at the top. It makes about as much sense as saying that people are dying on Interstate 5, and that we ought to close it to driving.

  • Lamont Granquist January 12, 2008 (12:17 pm)

    I think it’s time to stop scuba diving down there.

    Seacrest park on alki is in reality one of the easiest dive sites around seattle. There are very few hazards there. That is also why it attracts the most accidents, however, because new scuba divers are often trained at that site, and they come back to it and it is easy enough that they can gain experience there. So, it is probably the most popular dive site around for relatively inexperienced divers, so most of the accidents occur there.

    Banning diving at alki will just push that diving elsewhere and probably into sites which are tougher and will have the reverse effect and increase the overall fatality rate of divers in puget sound. Most other dive sites there is current to deal with and require a knowledge of the tide tables. Alki/Seacrest is one of the few dive sites where it doesn’t really matter what the tides are like, you’ll almost never see any current.

    If you look at the location of fatalities over the past four years or so, they’re not generally correlated with dangerous or more experienced diving sites. There have been fatalities in the San Juans (very popular destination diving spot), Seacrest (incredibly popular newbie/training/inclement weather/crappy tides diving spot), Redondo and Edmonds Underwater Park. The only fatalities that I can think of which were at more difficult sites were at Lobstershop Wall, which were divers essentially doing incredibly stupid ‘stunt’ diving and paying the price. You don’t see divers dying at deception pass or day island wall, or other ‘experienced’ sites. This indicates that it isn’t the dive site that is the problem.

  • Alynn Magee January 12, 2008 (9:38 pm)


    See you on the other side. RIP, son.


  • Mary January 13, 2008 (11:01 am)

    So sorry to hear about this tragedy. My heart goes out to you Reasa, Alynn and all the others who we’re close to Josh.

    Mary (an old roommate)

  • Amanda Krieger January 14, 2008 (9:21 pm)

    Reasa – I haven’t talked to you in a really long time and I’m sorry to have something so tragic be the reason to contact you. I am so very sorry for your loss and I can’t even pretend to understand what you feel…I know you are strong (I remember!). My family is thinking of you.

    Amanda (Miller) Krieger

    ***that’s right – your “old” little sister

  • Dave Rintoul June 5, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    Reasa – I just wanted to let you know that I dove Cove 2 this afternoon and it was the first time I noticed the memorial cross under the can buoy. It must have been placed very recently – it looks great and is a fitting memorial to Josh. As a regular diver to that site, I can tell you it will be a great help to those looking to find their way back to the shore so please know that Josh continues to help people.

    I appreciate your story very much and hope the best for you and that you’ve found some peace in this most unfortunate incident.

    Dave Rintoul, PADI Instructor

  • GilRene June 14, 2008 (7:06 pm)

    I did my first dry suit check out dive at Cove 2 today and saw Josh’s memorial. My deepest sympathy on your loss. We all know diving involves a certain amount of risk, but some of us are not content to sit on the sidelines and watch life go by… we like to jump in and experience things. We accept the risk, we mitigate it with training, and we try to always be aware that things can go wrong, and we could be hurt or killed. I didn’t know Josh, but I’m willing to bet that like many of us, he would rather have died experiencing life than sitting on a couch. I know I would…

Sorry, comment time is over.