June 20, 1997, Teresa Puente, Chicago Tribune:

Routine scuba exercise turns fatal for firefighter

A veteran firefighter died Friday following a routine scuba practice dive in Lake Michigan, fire officials said. [The diver], 46, a firefighter for 17 years and an experienced member of the Air-Sea Rescue Unit, was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital shortly before 5 p.m. according to fire department spokesman Patrick Howe. That was about an hour after [the diver] went out on a routine practice dive with [another team member] about 25 feet off Meigs Field, where the water temperature was 62 degrees. “[The team member] noticed his partner was moving rapidly to the surface,” said Howe. The member followed [the victim] to the surface, where the victim removed his mask. Other firefighters brought [him] to shore and administered CPR, Howe said. At that time, the victim did not have a pulse and was not breathing, Howe said. Paramedics were subsequently called and administered advanced life-saving techniques before transporting the victim to the hospital, Howe said. [The team member] also was admitted to the hospital as a procedural step and was listed in good condition. An investigation into the cause of [the diver’s] death was underway. “We don’t know if it was an equipment failure, or a heart problem, or what,” Howe said, adding that the divers were wearing the proper equipment. “We can’t speculate right now.” An autopsy will be conducted Saturday. Fire officials also said they would examine the scuba equipment being used by [the diver] for any potential malfunctions. [The diver] is survived by a wife and two daughters, ages 13 and 16.

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