The John Jack docked in MontukThere's still no update in the local newspaper about what caused the death of Dr. Timothy Barrow, the Oley Valley veterinarian, in a diving incident off the coast of Long Island last week. No report from the autopsy, nothing about services, whether he was buried at sea and they'll be a memorial service locally, nothing.
Dr.Barrow treated our companion animals for 20 years and, by all accounts, was loved and respected by all he came in contact with.
Another diver, Michael LaPrade, had died earlier that week after descending to the wreck of the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria from the same diving boat, the John Jack.
The East Hampton Press did file this update yesterday:
The captain, Richard Benevento, said that a detective had told him not to talk while an investigation was still going on; a woman working at Sportsman’s Marina in Montauk, where the boat was docked on Saturday, also said that the captain wanted privacy.
“Here we have a boat that has an absolutely great captain, phenomenal,” said Bill Pfeiffer, president of the Long Island Diving Association, on Monday. “He’s very experienced. He’s got a wonderful boat. I give him the highest marks possible.”
According to Mr. Pfeiffer, the Norness dive trip was a private charter. Mr. Barrow was “a highly experienced deep wreck diver,” he said, who chartered regularly for overnights “to go out and do the deep stuff.”
Captain Benevento and Mr. Barrow dove together regularly and also had a business relationship, according to Mr. Pfeiffer. Mr. Pfeiffer said he was slightly acquainted with Mr. Barrow, probably from meeting him at trade shows. He did not know Mr. LaPrade, he said.
The East Hampton Town Police Department took statements from those who had been aboard each time the boat returned to the Montauk Coast Guard station with a diver’s body. Chief Ecker said Mr. LaPrade had been “the third in the line going down” and that when the other divers reached the bottom they could not find him. They had descended some 225 feet, he said. They returned to the surface, hoping to see him there; ultimately a second group of divers found him at the bottom, according to police.
The police said that Mr. Barrow, the other diver, had been seen ascending the vessel’s anchor line from a depth of approximately 200 feet.
“They were both going to surface and go to their decompression stops,” Chief Ecker said of Mr. Barrow and his diving companion.
Although an extremely experienced diver, Mr. Barrow did not make decompression stops, according to the chief. When he reached the surface “he was in distress and went unconscious as crew members of the John Jack were lifting him onto the vessel,” a press release from the Police Department said.
Both wreck dives were “technical dives,” meaning they were at depths beyond 130 feet, involving a higher level of training and precautionary measures, such as decompression stops during ascents to the surface.
“Recreational diving, virtually anybody can participate in,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “It is very safe,” he said, and “not all that hard to do.”
“Recreational diving is driving to 7-Eleven to get milk,” he said, while technical diving “is
racing in NASCAR. You’re pushing the limits, pushing the envelope.”