Father & Son Die in Freak Christmas Scuba Accident

This Just In 19

Man divingHoliday gifts are supposed to make smiles and happiness. They're not supposed to kill their recipients. One Florida family is in mourning today after a father and son who received new diving equipment for the holidays died Christmas Day. Darrin Spivey and his son, Dillon Sanchez, allegedly went on a dive at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge to use the new equipment. When Spivey's fiancee, Holly King, was unable to contact him come 3 p.m. -- she got worried and called the police. Then her biggest nightmare came true.

The father/son duo died cave diving, and their bodies were found that night. While Darrin was an experienced, certified diver, he was not a cave diver. Darrin's 15-year-old son was not certified. 

According to reports, the cave where they went diving in, Eagle Nest Sink, could kill an experienced diver. Darrin risked both of their lives, and no matter how much he wanted to show his son a good time -- this type of activity was NOT worth the risk.

It's something that I think most parents can relate to. As a parent, you want to do things for your kid that show them you're a "cool" parent. It can be anything, like allowing them to stay out past the town curfew every once in a while out with their friends or even letting them drive a friend to school in the morning after they've gotten their license, even though they're technically not allowed to. In the grand scheme of things, these "little" gestures make them feel like you're on their side, when, in fact, you could be bending the very rules that are saving lives every single day.

Here's the thing: There are reasons laws and regulations exist today. Showing your kid a good time doesn't need to involve breaking the law or doing things they're not supposed to. Instead of letting them stay out late, treat your teen and their friends to a movie and then order takeout for them to come home to. Showing your love in the right ways can be just as rewarding.

Unfortunately, there's a reason Dillon shouldn't have been diving in that cave. This was just a tragic error in judgment.

I can't imagine what the family must be going through and wish them strength during this holiday season and beyond.   

Do you find yourself trying to be a "good" parent by letting your kid do things you wish you hadn't?


Image via runeng/Flickr


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jkp-buff jkp-buff

My brother is an experienced cave diver. It can be a very safe and enjoyable hobby IF all the rules are followed. There are extra safety precautions above and beyond regular scuba diving. If the dad was not trained in cave diving, and the son not trained in diving at all, then they probably didn't take the normal cave diving precautions that would have prevented this tragedy. When cave diving, you always have lots of extra equipment: 1 piece of equipment to go in, 1 piece of equipment to go out, and 1 piece of equipment as backup, thus 3 duplicates of everything (3 flashlights, 3 tanks of air, 3 regulators, etc). If anything fails, the dive stops and you leave while you still have 2 extra pieces of equipment. Many cave divers even take 4 duplicates of everything so they won't have to end a dive if something fails. Plus, you always, always dive with a buddy (even in regular scuba diving), so you would also have use of their duplicate equipment in case of emergency.

Sadly, every cave diving accident I've ever heard of was a result of the diver not following the basic safety precautions.

nonmember avatar Cass

This wasn't a freak accident. This is exactly what you would expect when two extremely inexperienced divers dove to over twice what the dad was certified to (their dive computers showed they had been to 224 feet, I believe. The recreational limit is 130 with the highest certification.), all in one of the most dangerous cave systems in the world. It's sad, but lets not pretend that it wasn't preventable at about ten different turns.

nonmember avatar April

A family just lost two loved ones yet were telling them it's all his fault this and this should of happened. How about a little respect for the dead and there family and keep your opinions to yourselves.

nonmember avatar Lacy

I don't feel sorry for them, they had it coming.

nonmember avatar Matt

Looking at some of these comments is precisely why I have given up on humanity. I pretty much keep to myself and rarely talk to people outside of work. This is a world full of cold uncaring people that only think about themselves that have no sympathy whatsoever.

dandy621 dandy621

Given up on humanity? What? That father knew that he was endangering his child!!!!! He put himself and his child into danger!!!!! I'm a certified diver, cavern certified, not cave certified!!! I am well aware of the dangers!!! I wouldn't put my child in that danger, even to be a cool mom!!! I understand that a family lost two members on Christmas Day! Shame on him for killing himself and his kid!!!!!!!!!

adopt... adoption2013

My friend's dad died scuba diving in hawaii.  My boyfriend got into trouble and needed help while diving in Cuba.   I have clients who sustained brain injuries while scuba diving.  Each of these people was certified and experienced.   My boyfriend doesn't scare easily.  He never went diving again.   In this case the father needed to be a parent and protect his kid.  To answer your question I have no problem refusing to allow a kid in my care to do something unsafe.  Whether it involves a friend's child, my niece, the relative that I raised for six years, or my dd I say no to keep them safe.  I'm the adult.

CarlyK23 CarlyK23

Wow....this article is just an assholes opinion. This family just lost two of their loved ones and you sit here and point fingers and place blame....sad, pathetic attempt at reporting. Maybe if you contained an ounce of empathy you may have provided an informative albeit tragic opportunity for others to learn by example but no; you draw an uninformed conclusion about a situation you know very little about and make a fool of yourself. Well done. 

Heather Jacks Wolf

I am appalled at the lack of empathy.  The people who are left behind are the one's who #1 were not at fault for this and #2 don't deserve to have to see this kind of crap.  As a cautionary tale, o.k. But all of you who are carping about the dad have obviously NEVER made a mistake or done something dumb.  If you ever do, I hope people are kinder to your loved ones left behind.  And Lacy, this guy wasn't a pedophile (if he was, then he would "deserve" to die).  He didn't deserve to die over a scuba diving mistake.  Wow, are you a sociopath?

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