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Training Turns Into Water Rescue At Family Park

July 11, 2014, 5:08 PM by Brady Mallory

Training Turns Into Water Rescue At Family Park

A Minnehaha County volunteer emergency diver is in the hospital after underwater training turned into a rescue.

Someone reported a drowning Thursday evening at Family Park, on the northwest side of Sioux Falls, just before 8 p.m.  Though nobody technically drowned, the Minnehaha County Emergency Manager says it was a serious situation.

The volunteer diver, a man who is 43, is listed in stable condition and is sedated.  

Eleven divers with the Minnehaha County Dive team and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue were in the middle of rescue training with dummies in the water at Family Park.

"One of them developed a, some sort of problem," Minnehaha County Emergency Manager Lynn DeYoung said.

DeYoung said the diver was underwater for about two minutes before the others found and rescued him.  At this point, investigators don't know what happened or if the man was without oxygen at any time.  However, the man, who was tethered to the other divers, pulled on the rope four times to signal he was in trouble.

"He also made a comment over our, we have a com system, which is a direct link from the surface to the diver, and he indicated he had some difficulty," DeYoung said.

When they brought him to the surface, he was unresponsive. The Sioux Falls Police Department is investigating and checking his equipment for any clues.

"Could've been anything wide-ranging from, as you said, a medical condition to equipment malfunction to being hung up on a stump.  All of those are probabilities," DeYoung said.

DeYoung has a simple request.

"We would just ask you that you keep your thoughts in for this person as there are many having a difficult time with this," DeYoung said.

The man has been with this group for four years, and DeYoung says he's an experienced diver.

"This person is a volunteer, and it is difficult for the, excuse me, the other volunteers that are here and the staff," DeYoung said. 

DeYoung isn't releasing the diver's name because he is still notifying family.

The water plays a big role in why this situation is a bit vague right now.  Divers described it as pitch black and also say there is a lot of debris down there.

DeYoung did not say what type of injuries this man has or give any details on his recovery.

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