Authorities identify diver who died at Eagle’s Nest near Weeki Wachee

Eagle's Nest near Weeki Wachee in Hernando County.
Eagle's Nest near Weeki Wachee in Hernando County.

WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has identified the diver who died Sunday at Eagle’s Nest, which is an underwater cave system in the Weeki Wachee area.

At 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Hernando County 911 dispatchers  received a call about an unresponsive diver in the water at the Eagle’s Nest dive area, which is located at 7199 Cortez Boulevard in Weeki Wachee.

Patrol deputies and fire-rescue units were immediately dispatched to the scene. Deputies say the person who made the call jumped into the water to get the unresponsive diver out of the water and tried to resuscitate the diver. Dispatchers learned that two additional divers were still in the water.

Hernando County Fire-Rescue crews arrived and pronounced the male diver, identified as Charles Odom, deceased.

Investigators later found out that Odom had met up with Kevin Lura, Evan May, and Christopher Jones at a nearby Hardee’s at 9:40 a.m. Sunday morning.

All four drove their own vehicles to Eagle’s Nest and began to set up their diving equipment, which took about 90 minutes.  All four divers then entered the water and were testing their gear, when May experienced a malfunction with his gear and got out of the water.

Odom, Lura, and Jones continued the dive while May made some phone calls to scuba centers about his equipment.  May then packed up his gear and began loading it into his vehicle.

On his last trip to the water to retrieve his gear, May saw a body floating in the water.  May immediately jumped in and pulled Charles Odom out of the water.  Odom was unresponsive.

Kevin Lura, who was underwater with Odom, told deputies that the divers explored the “ballroom” which is in the Eagle’s Nest cave system and that Odom led the way out.  At this point, the divers began to notice that Odon was in distress.

At about 100 feet, the divers observed Odom to go “limp.”  They immediately sent him to the surface.  The remaining divers both had to decompress and come up slowly.

The sheriff’s office said that Odom’s dive gear and computer will be inspected to determine if it was functioning properly.

His body will also be sent for an autopsy.

Last October, two experienced divers died at Eagle’s Nest, which is also known as Lost Sink. Eagle’s Nest is a popular destination for divers around the world. It is known as a difficult and dangerous cave system.

Patrick Peacock and Chris Rittenmeyer had traveled from Fort Lauderdale for a 3-day dive at Eagle’s Nest for deep underwater exploration. Both men were experienced divers who had dived at Eagle’s Nest several times. A friend called 911 when the two men failed to check in with him. Their bodies were recovered the next day in a very dangerous and complex area of the cave system.

Father and son Darrin Spivey, age 35, and Dillon Sanchez age 15, also drowned at Eagle’s Nest. The pair died on Christmas Day in 2013 when they were trying out diving equipment they received as a Christmas gift.

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