Marine Surveys







          This is a list of divers that have died while diving and exploring the shipwreck Andrea Doria.  Every premature death is a tragedy my condolences to all the families and friends of the divers that passed.


      Canon Henry Scott Holland
1847 - 1918

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all...I have only
slipped away into the next room...I am I,
and you are you...whatever we were to
each other that we are still. Call me by
my old familiar name; speak to me in the
easy way which you always used. Put no
difference into your tone; wear no forced
air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we
always laughed at the little jokes we
enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of
me, and pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household
word that it always was. Let it be spoken
without effect, without the ghost of a
shadow on it. Life means all that it ever
meant. It is the same as it ever was, there
is absolutely unbroken continuity. What
is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I
am out of sight. I am just waiting for you,
for an interval somewhere very near,
just around the corner...All is well.


This List of 18 scuba divers deaths is Current to October 2017

            I have compiled this list for general information and is from first hand memory and research of the events, reading many of the US Coast Guard reports allowed me to made some comments about some of the incidents, if you can contribute any information about the events email the information to captainswb@gmail.com  I will read the information make a decision if it will be added to the list.  

I believe to understand deep diving and make these kind of dives you should have extensive deep diving experience; be physically fit and be psychological ready for the dive you are making, don’t add equipment just for this dive and you should have used all the equipment and being comfortable in the equipment you will be using, be very familiar with the equipment, try in on at home use it on all your dives proceeding your trip use it in a pool if available.  Be able  to function  in close quarters living at sea, include being able to live on a boat banging around for several days in rough seas. You must be ready to make decision when you're sea sick or just feeling beat up  to say “NO” saying I’ll sit this one out, the easy decision is to go along with someone else dive plan and dive when your not ready.

         The diving platform and the captains and crew are very important, the divers must understand the captains and crew and their experience and they know how to assist you, not only gearing up but speak with you about your dive  plan and how they will performed in an emergency. In 1985 the Wahoo was the first dive boat in the North East to use surface supplied  oxygen for in water decompression, introduced by Captain Billy Deans from Key West Divers in 1980.  Starting in the 90’s with the advent of “TECHNICAL DIVING” divers started replacing experience with mixed gases “TRIMIX”, and Rebreathers,  I believe this may have contributed to the increase in divers deaths:

       Christopher Murley is the perfect example, he was greatly over weight with health issues and  lacked the experience to make extreme dives like the Doria and in his rush to be certified as a Mix gas Advanced “TRIMIX” diver because the charter boats  rules was the minimum certification required was mix gas “TRIMIX”  certification,  Murley was doing his final check out dives on the Doria he was not yet certified “TRIMIX” and reading his experience in the US Coast Guard report, Murley was not any where qualified to make deep dives not only on the Doria, Murley's health and experience were in question. Part of the problem was he was one of  two paying customers on the trip, if Murley didn't pay,  the trip would not have gone Dan Crowell bragged he brought more divers to the Andrea Doria than anyone else, not so, Dan ran trips with one or two paying divers and made a several trips with no paying customers,  Murley drown on the surface while being assisted by his rescuers, he was on the surface not underwater when he went into distress and panicked, read the report.   This information came from reading the Coast Guard report Murley  . including the personal written reports of all persons aboard the boat.  I need to scan them and add them here.  to be added later.

Diving death data information was compiled at URI  for deaths in diving;

     John McAniff did research for URI on all divers deaths and compiled data; John and I spoke often about the deaths on the Andrea Doria and we disagreed about the number of deaths; John believed there were more than I had complied in my research data John could not confirm his rumored  information,

      John McAniff was a noted diving professional for over 50 years. He was a world renowned authority on diving safety and for many years his University of Rhode Island office on the Kingston campus was the headquarters for the National Underwater accident Data Center. McAniff collected and provided information on diving accidents throughout the US. McAniff's research was financed by the National Sea grant College Program and the Center was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.
      McAniff received a NOGI in 1962 and in 1976 received the first U.S. Coast Guard Academy Award for outstanding contributions to the field of diving and marine safety. He is also a recipient of the DEMA Reaching Out Award.


   1-John Barnett  1980 Sea Hunter I, recovery by Stan Smith & Gary Gentile, he was found expired lying in the promenade deck. John was diving since the early 70’s by many he would be called an accomplished diver.  John was getting into shape to dive the Doria and made a trip on the Wahoo 2 weeks before his Doria dive, John had a problem surface behind the boat and needed assistance we sent a swimmer to assist John, when John came aboard the boat he was fatigued, and complain about becoming disoriented and could not find the anchor line and made a free swimming ascent, I suggested John not make his Doria dive as he not in condition to make the extreme dive at this time.

   2- July 15, 1984. Francis Kennedy, 37, of Wrentham, Mass. Charter boat Wahoo.  Francis ran out of gas during ascent after making a 230’ dive inside the wreck he was looking for Artie Kirhsner dropped china bag. down a stairwell, his depth gauge read 230FSW, he also did not adjust his back up air bottle regulator hose where he could find it even after being recommended by the crew as he had a problem finding the backup regulator hose on a earlier dive. vessel Wahoo, Captain Steve Bielenda

   3 Aug. 1, 1985— John Ormsby 27, of Key West, Fla. died after being tangled in wire cables inside Gimbel’s hole in the wreck and drown. John was dive partners with Billy Deans,  John broke the dive plan with Deans and the other partner he swam away leaving them and entered the China hole, he tangling in the hanging cables and became trapped at 210 fsw just under the entrance to the hall to the dining room, and almost killed another diver when he dropped down to the Gift shop area and ripping another divers regulator and mask off, the diver Sally Wahrmann survived because of the way she configred her equipment and never lost her mask during the attach by John. vessel Wahoo, Captain Steve Bielenda

   4-July 15, 1988. Joe Drozd, 42, Stonington, Conn. Dive boat Seeker captained by Bill Nagel. Joe was diving with two buddies Joe panicked and became disoriented and would not take assistance; he spat out his regulator and drowned. vessel Seeker

    5- July 2, 1992. Matthew G. Lawrence, 32, of Miami Lakes, Fla. Seeker. Poor dive planning his tanks had inadequate mix for the dive he tried to make, he died 14 minutes into dive @ 260 feet trying to recover Rosary beads inside the wreck.  vessel Seeker, Captain Bill Nagel

   6- July 15, 1992. Michael William Scofield, 36, of Soquel, Calif. vessel Seeker, Captain Bill Nagel

   7- July 12, 1993. Robert Santulli, 33, Port Jefferson, NY.  Coast Guard investigation found he had become disoriented and panicked after being inside wreck at depth of 210 feet, he struggled with his dive buddy Peter Haralobotas, suspected being narced and distress in the struggle his regulator fell out of his mouth and not recovered and drowned.   Sea Hunter III, Captain Sal Arena

   8-1998 — Craig Sicola, Seeker, Captain Dan Crowell

   9- Richard Roost AKA Scuba God, Seeker, Captain Dan Crowell

   10- 1998 Vincent Napoliello died diving on Andrea Doria. aboard the Seeker, Captain Dan Crowell

   11-1999 Charles J. McGurr died of apparent heart attacks preparing for a second dive Seeker, Captain Dan Crowell. Coast Guard report

   12- 1999 — Christopher Murley drown on the surface while being assisted by crew members. Seeker, Captain’s Dan Crowell, John Moyer & Steve Nagiewicz. Official cause of death: The medical examiner listed the official cause of death as drowning. At some point while Chris Murley was being towed/pushed to the stern of the vessel, he became unconscious; causing him to lose control of his neck muscles and his face fell back into the water. What caused him to lose consciousness is not known, however, the combination of his moderate arteriosclerotic heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension may have contributed. Cardiomegaly, which is an enlargement of the heart, can also not be ruled out as a contributing factor.

   13- 2002 William Schmoldt died from rapid assent to the surface decompression sickness. John Jack captain/owner Joseph Terzuoli of Wall, N.J.

   14-2006 — Researcher David Bright died from decompression sickness.

   15-2008 — Terry DeWolf of Houston, Texas died during dive on wreck, cause of death  undetermined, John Jack captain/owner Joseph Terzuoli of Wall,  N.J.

   16-2011 — Michael LaPrade of Los Angeles died during a dive on the wreck. John Jack, Captain Rich Benevento

   17-2015__ Dr. Thomas C. Pritchard died diving July 22, 2015 sailed aboard the vessel John Jack  Captained by  Richard   Benevento, the divers body was never recovered.   

  18--2017 __ Steven Slater died July 26 2017  Steven is from the UK a Rebreather diver sailed aboard
 the vessel Ol' Salty Captained by  Nick Caruso, he was diving   with a dive partner, It was reported Steven broke his dive plan while ascending to 200 fsw  and then rapidly ascended directly to the surface and was unconscious when he was brought aboard the vessel.


CONTACT captainswb@gmail.com                                  

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