One man confirmed dead after second scuba diving incident at White Star Quarry since Saturday

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 6:51 AM EDT
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GIBSONBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - On Tuesday afternoon, crews were called to the scene of an unresponsive diver at White Star Quarry in Gibsonburg.

This was the second scuba diving incident since Saturday.

Before they could get there though, it was the bystanders who pulled the man out of the water.

“I just reacted. I saw somebody in distress and knew that I needed to get out there and do something,” said Casey Huepenbecker.

Huepenbecker says he was just enjoying a beach day with his family when his training and experience in the military were put to the test. “From a distance, I heard we need a lifeguard and I was just scanning the water to see what the issue was, what was going on.”

He says that’s when he saw a lifeguard swimming toward two men in scuba gear. “Then I hear her yell, I need someone that knows CPR so, then I knew the magnitude of this was really serious. I dove out into the water, swam out there, probably 50 yards out,” said Huepenbecker.

He says he and a few others were able to get the man to shore and that is where he started giving him CPR, with his wife assisting him. “As soon as I started doing compressions, got about 30 compressions in, then she started giving him air.”

According to the police report obtained by 13 Action News, medical crews arrived on the scene shortly after the diver was pulled out of the water.

Crews and Huepenbecker went back and forth giving him CPR before he was loaded into an ambulance, but the life-saving measures were unsuccessful and the diver was pronounced dead at the scene.

“A very tragic end to a day, but on the positive side of things, for just complete random strangers to all come together and work together to try to help save a man like that I mean it definitely puts a little bit of faith back in humanity, especially in these crazy times that we live in,” Huepenbecker said.

The ranger of the park denied our request for an on-camera interview, but he did say over the phone that scuba diving is a risky and difficult activity.

According to that police report we mentioned earlier, the man who died and his scuba diving partner were experienced, but he too did not sign any paperwork or forms before going on the dive.

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