WEEKI WACHEE — A diver exploring the Eagle’s Nest, a notoriously dangerous underwater cave, failed to resurface from a Wednesday night dive, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
The person was free diving, according to the Sheriff’s Office, which meant the diver was not carrying oxygen.
Deputies called it a "possible drowning" in a short Facebook post. The agency was called at 6:51 p.m. The diver’s identity was not released.
The Eagle’s Nest is located in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area a few miles northwest of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
It is an underwater maze that opens at the bottom of a sinkhole known among divers as the "Grand Canyon" for its stunning views, extreme depth and remote location.
That challenge also makes the caverns dangerous: At least 12 divers have died there since 1981. The site claimed a father-son pair on Christmas Day 2013. Two more divers from Fort Lauderdale died there in October 2016. Rescuers found their bodies near each other in a particularly complex area of the cave system.
A Trinity diver died in the cave network in January 2017, and a Dover man died there in January 2018.