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Diving accident at Georgia scuba park claims life of local firefighter

Authorities are still investigating how the incident occurred.
Credit: 11Alive

WHITE, Ga. — Authorities say the body of a metro Atlanta firefighter was recovered on Saturday after an unknown incident at a popular area diving destination.

Bartow County Fire Chief Dwayne Jamison said that his dive team was called out to assist in the search for the victim after he checked in, but never checked out at Kraken Springs near White, Georgia. 

Jamison said his divers were able to recover the victim, who he said was an off-duty Gwinnett County firefighter. He added that the location is popular for both recreational dives and training. He said the victim was on a recreational dive.

Coroner Joel Guyton later identified the victim as Robert Fernandez but said a cause of death hasn't yet been determined and will be the subject of an autopsy.

Authorities haven't said whether Fernandez was diving alone. Information on the park's website suggests that it is allowed but only for divers certified for solo or self-reliant dives who show they have the proper equipment and sign a liability form.

The park has since released a statement saying that an extensive investigation by the sheriff's office and coroner's office will need to be completed to determine exactly what happened.

"We, at Kraken Springs, are devastated by this accident and the subsequent loss of life," the park statement said.

They also asked for prayers for the diver's family and crews who responded.