West Seattle diver Laura James shares the photo at left – flowers at Cove 2, off Seacrest, left in memory of the diver who died on Sunday. As noted here Sunday night, Laura was one of the divers who went down to mark the spot where another “civilian” team had discovered him, so that police and fire divers could subsequently, and quickly, finish the recovery. Tonight, more information:
*In comments on Sunday night’s report, the diver who died is identified by his girlfriend and others as Tareq. We have learned his last name as well, but are not publishing it yet, while awaiting King County Medical Examiner confirmation that next-of-kin has all been notified (their usual daily media report was not available today because of the holiday). One commenter mentions that he was a ham-radio operator; we are told he was active with an emergency-preparedness group.
*Also commenting was Johanna Raupe, one of the divers who found the body at 110 feet down; she was taken to the Virginia Mason Center for Hyperbaric Medicine after a problem during her ascent. Via e-mail, she shared with WSB the account of what she told her dive group had happened, writing of a “major equipment failure” at 95 feet. As for how she’s doing, she wrote, “I am doing fine, I only experienced pain-related symptoms with some poor balance. The doctor told me I executed the best practices perfectly and my being here was testament to that fact. I had to do a preventative Table-6 decompression. I was released (Monday) morning a little after 4 AM. I am under observation and evaluation for a week.”
*If you missed our original coverage – Tareq was reported to be with an advanced dive class when something went wrong before 11 am Sunday; another diver tried surfacing with him, but lost track of him. Authorities were called, and Seattle Police/Fire and the U.S. Coast Guard searched in the water, from the air, and even from land (atop an SFD ladder) until late in the afternoon. After the dives involving Johanna and Laura, as detailed above, recovery operations were concluded successfully just before 8 pm.
4:34 PM UPDATE: The KCME now officially identifies the diver who died as 29-year-old Tareq Saade. Cause of death is listed as accidental drowning. According to information we have found online, Mr. Saade was a Microsoft employee who lived on Capitol Hill.
ADDED 11:28 PM: In further correspondence with Johanna – who identifies her diving buddy as Patricia Gunderson, and also has words of thanks for Yvonne Renick, shore support – we asked her how she and Patricia came to be the ones who went down looking after the official search was suspended, something we had not yet heard:
My dive buddy and I originally planned to dive at Redondo. When we got there, there were hundreds of divers in the water. Not a good environment for photography. So we went to Salt Water state park. We couldn’t get in the water there because of the logs baring the beach. We then decided to go to Alki and arrived around noon.
When we go there, Pat looked at me and said “Something is going to happen to us today because all of the cards are lining up. We’re supposed to be here for some reason.”
We stayed at Alki all day watching the entire event unroll. When the team started calling off the recovery for the day (~4:15 PM) I decided to go and talk to two different officers onsite. I let both of them know that I would be locating the body and what did they want me to do with it when I found it.
My buddy and I immediately started checking out our gear and setting it up. (I had to get clearance from the police to enter the water) We got in the water about 5:00 PM and found Tareq about 5:05 based on the clues I mentioned in a prior recount. We moved the body to the new location and headed in.
Why did I do this? I’m a diver and a mother. I have both a son and a daughter that are divers as well. I know what goes on under the water when the sun goes down over the sound. I know how many divers have been lost and never recovered or found maybe years later. The conditions were prime to find him before the marine life came in and before the big exchange happened. I wouldn’t want my children left behind. I could not leave him behind, not if I had the skills to locate him.
I have a gift. I’ve been really successful on my searching, rescues and then this one recovery. I’ve brought three people up successfully. I knew without a doubt that I could find this guy.