Followup: Diver remembered, identified; volunteer searcher recovering

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.

10 Replies to "Followup: Diver remembered, identified; volunteer searcher recovering"

  • Sarah February 21, 2012 (7:16 am)

    Tareq was one of the nicest guys around. Always friendly and with a smile that lit up the room! He will be sorely missed!!!

  • Rowland Brasch February 21, 2012 (12:05 pm)

    Tareq worked with us at the Red Cross here in Seattle on the Comm Team (radio Communications). He was a very enthusiastic individual. Always a pleasure to work with. He will be missed by all of us.

  • Johanna Raupe February 21, 2012 (2:02 pm)

    My dive buddy that assisted in locating the missing diver was Patricia Gunderson (Pat). Pat, Yvonne (Alki Fish & Chips) and an unidentified gentleman (provider of the dive profile specifics that I used to locate the diver) were the three involved in the dive plan, execution and location/relocation of Tareq to a well known “reference point” for recovery. I think these individuals need to be appropriately recognized for their contributions.

  • Jessica February 21, 2012 (2:14 pm)

    Tareq, also worked with us at the Red Cross on the FAST team. (First Aid team) He and I went through First Responder training together, as well. He was a great person, always giving to others, adventurous and happy. He will be missed by all of us. My heart goes out to his family and girlfriend.

  • Hunter February 21, 2012 (5:10 pm)

    Does anyone know who he was training with, Instructor/school wise??? I can’t imagine how rough of a state they must be in. I haven’t heard a word about that.

  • KF7QCI February 22, 2012 (4:24 am)

    Rest in peace, W7TJS.

  • kitten February 22, 2012 (4:05 pm)

    I am a friend of the student diver who surfaced just after Tareq.

    She’s emotionaly in tatters and is completely distraught.

    Please send your good wishes.

  • RLA February 23, 2012 (8:24 am)

    Kitten, I can’t even imagine what she must be going through right now. Does she have any dive friends she might be able to talk to about this. Prayers and good wishes go out to her and Tareq’s family and friends.

  • resident3 February 23, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    To those who found guys are amazing. Its horrible that it had to be a recovery and not a rescue but your efforts and success finding Tareq and the odds of having you wind up there at all is such a crazy story. Tareq sounded like a great man. So many elements to this story. It should be a 20/20 episode.

  • Mike March 3, 2012 (5:26 pm)

    Was just curious about Johanna Raupe and what major equipment failure happened to her at 95 ft. Out-of-air situation? Mask failure? I don’t mean to pry, but think that this would be a good educational tool for all divers to know what happened to her and how she handled the situation. My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Tareq and everyone involved in the recovery.

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