Continuing coverage: Diver’s body found, brought ashore

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
7:47 PM: Continuing coverage from this earlier WSB story: A recovery effort is now under way off Seacrest Pier, after a body was found this evening, believed to be that of the diver who vanished this morning after something went wrong during an advanced class in deep water. Seattle Police tell WSB that the body was spotted by civilian divers who kept looking even after the official effort ended late in the day; police, fire, and Coast Guard crews searched for hours before moving from rescue attempt to recovery effort.

A buoy is in the water, about 100 yards offshore, marking the spot where it was seen; police and fire are coordinating the operation to retrieve the body.

The King County Medical Examiner is there too, since it’s their job to investigate deaths like this.

7:57 PM UPDATE: Our crews at the scene says the body has been brought out of the water and is on board the Seattle Fire Department boat Leschi. The KCME is waiting onshore. They will be the ones to officially announce identification, once it’s made, and once they’re sure next-of-kin know, though that may not be until tomorrow. As mentioned in our first story, our archives indicate this is the first diver death in our area in three years.

8:15 PM UPDATE: The scene is starting to clear; the diver’s body is in the Medical Examiner’s truck, and police/fire crews are wrapping up, more than nine hours after this all began with a call that the diver was in trouble, as detailed in our morning/afternoon coverage.

8:41 PM UPDATE: There’s more information on the SFD “Fire Line” website, including more information on a related incident we’d heard about: A diver in her 50s, one of the civilian/volunteer divers who continued the search, had to be taken to Virginia Mason, where there’s a hyperbaric chamber, because of a medical problem following a quick ascent.

10:47 PM UPDATE: We’ve added video from WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli, who also took the photos in this story. And we’ve found some context on how part of the recovery effort unfolded, in a post by Laura James – whose underwater video has been featured here before – on the Northwest Dive Club message board. She was one of the divers who went down (after another volunteer team spotted the body) and marked the spot so the official recovery team could get there fast.

POSTSCRIPT: Bill Morgan from North Admiral sent three striking images of rescuers at work on Sunday afternoon, and we wanted to share them. First, the Coast Guard in the air:

The Seattle Fire Department, also “in the air,” before there was helicopter support:

And a Seattle Police boat, with divers:

46 Replies to "Continuing coverage: Diver's body found, brought ashore"

  • CAF February 19, 2012 (7:56 pm)

    Thanks to the “authorities” for their signing off at night. We know who our friends at the end of the day, someone who will put another tank on and take a light into deep water on a fourth dive to bring you home.

  • Seatttleseabug February 19, 2012 (8:01 pm)

    This is so sad. Over the years this has happened at the park there, used to work at Saltys so things would unfold in front of the windows and they never turned out good. Sorry for this persons family.

  • Sunny Murphy February 19, 2012 (8:14 pm)

    I just watched as officials took photos on the dock and a sheet draped gurney was then rolled up the dock ramp and loaded into a KCME vehicle. Rest in peace.

    • WSB February 19, 2012 (8:19 pm)

      Yes, we have added a photo as the Leschi docked. We don’t show bodies here, covered or otherwise, so that’s about as close a view as we will be publishing – TR

  • west Seattle since 1979 February 19, 2012 (8:16 pm)

    So sad. Thoughts and prayers. to the diver’s family.

  • CAF February 19, 2012 (8:22 pm)

    Please give us his name.

    • WSB February 19, 2012 (8:37 pm)

      CAF, I don’t have a name, nor even a hint of one. The official ID, as noted, is not likely before tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes relatives/friends of victims in tragedies choose to come to comment threads like this and discuss their loved one sooner … otherwise, we can only wait.

  • CAF February 19, 2012 (8:41 pm)

    WSB: appreciated, the clear response

    the local diving community is alarmed at the moment. we’re tight. have a good night.

  • CAF February 19, 2012 (9:20 pm)

    The name of the person who got herself bent trying to help?

  • Seacrest Diver February 19, 2012 (10:47 pm)

    I just want to share something from one of the divers that found the victim, because I think some of the comments posted here are a bit unfair to the fire, police, and coast guard rescue crews that responded. My hat’s off to the civilian divers that jumped in to search; I imagine finding a fellow diver unresponsive will stick with you for a long time. It was a caring thing you did for the victim’s family.
    ‘I want to take a moment to clarify something. Everyone jumping up saying that police/fire could/should do more, ask for community help, etc…

    I got the call a bit before noon from one of our dive buddies who is a firefighter. Knowing that it would be a madhouse, but that after things settled down we might be able to be helpful, I threw a scooter in the truck, as did my buddy. we were planning a battery dive anyway, so in the event that things resolved quickly, we could always run grids. Fire was already wrapping up when I arrived and it was handed over to police. The politics are already pretty heavy there, so i quietly let them know we had scooters and mix and could be available to them.

    They were really great about keeping us in the loop, but i understand why the didn’t want us motoring around while they had multiple search boats topside. Both fire and police have their divers on coms and know what they are doing at all times. Having a handful of us scootering around would only add to mayhem. They don’t really know us from adam, and the last thing they need would be one of us getting into trouble too…

    We waited until they gave us the ‘go ahead’ and did the dive that lamont described. IF we had been in the water earlier, or if we had not been able to re-locate the body, our presence would have delayed their dive operation. The imperative thing here is not to fly off half cocked. There absolutely has to be a relationship between the different teams, even if some are civilian. The bottom line is, due to their regulations, if we are in the water, unless there is some kind of pre-approved plan, we will likely delay their ability to do their job.

    We pushed the envelope a little, by heading straight out when the team who located him surfaced. The search teams had been in the water all day running searches and honestly my motivation, once I realized we could very quickly locate and mark, was to save them having to do another series of dives, this time in the dark. There was no hesitation… We’d been given the go ahead to dive and we had chatted with the officers about what they would prefer we do if we found him, so I made the call to dive.

    If we had pushed said envelope earlier and tried to sneak around from cove 1 (thought crossed our mind) or had not located him rapidly and made their lives easier, this would likely be reading a different way.

    There was communication between our little team and both fire and police throughout the duration. Keep in mind, once it becomes a recovery, the stakes change, it heavily downgrades the urgency, and they start looking at how to keep their own safe. These are firefighters and cops we are talking about here, as long as they think they can save a life, these guys are gonna go balls to the walls, and someone has to watch out for them too. If any of you have a cop or firefighter in your family, you know what i’m talking about. They were planning to come back tomorrow a.m. with sidescan sonar etc.”

    • WSB February 19, 2012 (11:00 pm)

      Seacrest Diver – I actually just added a paragraph pointing to that NW Dive Club post by Laura, who has contributed video and photos here before, including the battery-recovery work (I have had some updates in queue for days), before your comment came in. – TR

  • CAF February 19, 2012 (10:54 pm)

    WSB: please remove photos –

  • mookie February 19, 2012 (11:27 pm)

    @Seacrest Diver / Laura – thank you very, very much for what you posted.
    My heartfelt condolences to the diver’s immediate family and friends, and diving family. I know the “authorities”- SFD, SPD and Coast Guard – worked damn hard today for many hours today, giving their best. Your clarifications and perspective are greatly appreciated.

  • Aman February 19, 2012 (11:35 pm)

    R.I.P lost diver. Condolences to your family, colleagues, & the diving community.

  • Scubafrog February 19, 2012 (11:59 pm)

    What a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to this young man, his friends, and his family.

  • Tbone February 20, 2012 (1:40 am)

    Condolences. And bravo to all the heroic efforts of the people who tried to save him and rescued his body.

  • Alki Resident February 20, 2012 (6:35 am)

    @CAF-WSB did a great job taking tasteful pics,if you don’t like them ,don’t view them.

  • SMokersAce February 20, 2012 (9:02 am)

    Also for those criticizing the PD/FD divers … remember these men and women are on a 24 hour shift. After they spend 8 hours diving on this call they might still have boat fires, other divers in distress, bridge jumpers, etc. that they have to respond to before their 24 hours is up – or they may have already put in a whole bunch of hours on other calls.

    They are a limited resource and diving while exhausted will only raise the body count.

  • carlton February 20, 2012 (9:05 am)

    Yes remove photos please. Very distasteful.

  • Kirby Pollard February 20, 2012 (9:16 am)

    I was rescued on 11 May last year at Cove 2 after a diving accident that nearly cost me my life. I salute all the brave men and women that risk there lives to help others. Pray for all involved, this is a dark time in their lives.

    • WSB February 20, 2012 (9:34 am)

      Regarding the photos … as a news organization, we photograph, and publish photographs of, the men and women of the Seattle Police and Seattle Fire Departments, and other public-safety/public-service agencies, at work all the time. At fires, at crashes, at crime scenes, at rescues, at searches, and more. We actually go much, much further than other news organizations in terms of being respectful and tasteful – we do not show bodies (covered or otherwise), we do not show injured and/or distraught victims, we do not show grieving/upset bystanders, we do not publish names of victims without confirmation, etc. This coverage is right in line with our extremely stringent standards. – Tracy

  • Jeanine February 20, 2012 (9:32 am)

    What is distasteful about the photos?

  • Tony February 20, 2012 (9:38 am)

    What pray tell is “very distasteful” showing the overwhelming response and effort by these dedicated professionals doing what they are trained and paid [by all of us] to do? Obviously this tragedy is hitting to close to home for some and before becoming ‘backseat editors’ with requests to remove these informative picts they should perhaps remove themselves from this community news site and grieve in private.

  • bridge to somewhere February 20, 2012 (10:01 am)

    “very distasteful” photos? I completely disagree, and am rather surprised to see the accusation. None of the photos show the victim; instead, they show the response and the aid workers. This is, as I understand it, what every other news outlet does. I don’t understand why this situation would be any different.

  • Craig February 20, 2012 (10:26 am)

    Agree. WSB goes far beyond what’s considered respectful with other news orgs. Keep up the great work & don’t change a thing.

  • Cindy February 20, 2012 (11:12 am)

    I want to thank all the divers who helped in the search yesterday. The man who died was my boyfriend Tareq. If any of you who helped would like to contact me, I would like to thank you all personally.

  • Kgdlg February 20, 2012 (11:48 am)

    Ditto Craig. Nice work wsb! You are a treasure.

  • Paul February 20, 2012 (12:58 pm)

    I would also like to share my condolences for the lost diver, and appreciation for those who work hard and risk their own safety to help others.

    As a member of the diving community, I think it’s important that we share the details of accidents – regardless of the outcome (hopefully, a successful rescue, such as Kirby’s). It’s important that we learn from each other to help prevent future mishaps. WSB is not the proper forum for that, but I would ask that someone who knows where this information might be available point me and my fellow divers to where we can learn more.

  • bridge to somewhere February 20, 2012 (1:26 pm)

    Cindy: I’m very sorry for your loss. :-(

  • Lo siento February 20, 2012 (1:41 pm)

    Cindy, My deepest condolences to you and all his loved ones. May God bring peace to your hearts to cherish the good times. May he rest in peace.

  • enviromaven February 20, 2012 (1:51 pm)

    @Cindy – Sending condolences and deepest sympathy to you and the rest of Tareq’s family and friends.

    @WSB – As always, thank you for covering this story with dignity and respect. I can’t imagine it ever gets easy to report this kind of news.

  • Ross February 20, 2012 (3:57 pm)

    Paul (and any other divers),
    There are a variety of scuba forums where this incident will be discussed.

    I would direct you to, an online scuba club with a local focus, friendly discussion forums, and an active membership. Some might be interested in more traditional local dive clubs like Moss Bay Dive Club (mostly Eastside membership) and Marker Buoy Dive Club (more Seattle centered membership.

    There also a very active community of divers that advocates a team oriented style of diving that places an emphasis on strong personal skills in the context of standardized procedures and equipment. Many of use feel that these methods with roots in cave exploration and deep technical diving are applicable to typical Northwest diving conditions and offer a significant safety advantage over typical training by the major agencies.

  • Johanna Raupe February 20, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    Cindy, I am so sorry for what yesterday brought. My heart goes out to you. Take Care of Yourself

  • Gideon February 20, 2012 (5:35 pm)

    I know Tareq. He’s a good man, very sad on what happen. Allot of people will miss him.

  • Chris Yody February 20, 2012 (7:19 pm)

    I knew Tareq through ham radio. He was a wonderful young man. I am very sad and offer my great sympathy to Cindy.

  • Carly February 20, 2012 (8:13 pm)

    I am a friend of Cindy and Tareq’s. He was a wonderful man. Such a tragedy. My heart breaks for Cindy as I know he was the love of her life.

  • Divr Guy February 20, 2012 (8:20 pm)

    The thing about recovering a body from a diving accident is to make sure the person performing the recovery doesn’t become a causality themselves. It was very careless for those two women to go out and actively search for the missing diver without knowing what to expect and the repercussions from their actions.

    The two ladies who found the missing diver NEARLY became victims themselves. The 50 year lady who rocketed to the surface from 110fsw went to VM to visit the chamber, and the other lady shell shocked and dealing with other personal issues. There are no heroes with this action – only victims’. Thank you for your effort to bring closure to the family and friends quicker, but at what cost.

    All my thanks go to the Seattle Police, Seattle Harbor Police, Fire Dept. and the Coast Guard for all of your efforts to keep us safe and sound.

    My condolence to the family and friends of the missing diver. May God comfort you and be with you through this period of grief.

  • interrobang February 20, 2012 (8:51 pm)

    My condolences to everyone who knew this person — I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • AlkiAnne February 20, 2012 (8:56 pm)

    My son was taken up by all the rescue trucks yesterday and all that was happening so I took him back this morning to leave flowers in the fence and reflect on what had happened. I was disheartened to see later that someone had helped themselves to them. Our thoughts still remain.

  • ray g. February 20, 2012 (10:55 pm)

    My wife and I send our deepest sympathy to Tareq’s family, friends and to especially Cindy for their loss of a great person. He had a special friendship with our daughter Raquel and I know how hard it has affected her. I know that she will miss him dearly as I know you will also. We will keep you and his family in our prayers.

  • DiverLaura February 21, 2012 (12:28 am)

    Cindy… My heart goes out to you and Tareq’s family. You are why we went in to send up the marker so they could find him more easily. I know it doesn’t help, but I am so so sorry for your loss.

  • Patrick Nolan February 21, 2012 (2:09 am)

    Tareq touched so many lives, it’s almost immeasurable. I am glad to know him and remember him. Blessings to his family, loved ones, extended family and friends.

    Although incomprehensible at the moment, I wish for collective healing for those of us impacted by his passing.

    We love you Tareq.

  • dalal February 21, 2012 (5:44 am)

    condolences to Tarq’s parents,jo and madiha, and to my son Abood Abeidoh who just lost an old and close friend.

  • dalal February 21, 2012 (5:54 am)

    abood Abeidoh:Rest in peace old friend. Was looking so forward to seeing you next week. To soon before your time, at least you were doing something you loved. Will think of you every time I dive and remember your warmth and energy.

  • DJ G February 21, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    I remember meeting him once. I’m so sorry for your loss Cindy. I can’t even begin to think how it is to lose someone so close.
    RIP Tareq

  • PG February 23, 2012 (6:29 am)

    To Divr Guy, I am the other lady who located Tareq, and you portray us as fools. We are both very experienced divers and my buddy had the misfortune to have equipment problems after we located the lost diver. Our dive profile was fully within the recreational limits and until the equipment failure like any other planned dive. Please do not judge or make statements. You were not there. Of course I was affected by the location of the diver, but other than that my ascent from the bottom in open water was normal, and I have no issues from the dive. I am relieved that we located him so that he could be recovered and put to rest the search.

Sorry, comment time is over.