Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
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Funeral held for father, son killed cave diving

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Published:   |   Updated: January 5, 2014 at 01:42 PM

BROOKSVILLE - Family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to remember Darrin Spivey and Dillon Sanchez, the father and son killed in a Christmas Day diving accident at Eagle Nest Sink.

The chapel at Brewer & Sons Funeral Home overflowed, with many attendees standing in the back and parlor for the service.

A photograph of Spivey and his son in dive gear was positioned between the two caskets, surrounded by flowers.

Sanchez, 15, was a Hernando High School student in the ROTC program. He hoped to join the U.S. Navy and become a Navy SEAL.

"I have so many wonderful memories of you (Dillion)," said Angelina McCabe, Sachez's aunt. "Every time we're together it was always like I was a teenager, too," McCabe said, remembering how they would joke together, and how Dillon would persuade her to spin her vehicle in circles in a parking lot.

"You were my little brother growing up, and as I got older, you were my son. Thank you for being the best brother, son and nephew a girl could ever ask for," McCabe said.

Spivey, 35, a Hernando High School graduate, worked as a roofer.

He was recalled as a father devoted to spending time with his children, Dillon, Alexis and Derek, and who shared with them his love of the outdoors.

Photos of Spivey and Sanchez in dive gear were displayed on poster boards in the funeral home and on digital screens during a visitation.

"He passed doing what he loved with whom he loved," a pastor said during the eulogy.

Spivey and Sanchez went diving at Eagle Nest Sink, a vast underwater cave in the Withlacoochee Wildlife Management Area that reaches depths of 300 feet, to test out new diving equipment on Christmas Day. Spivey's fiancee, Holly King, called law enforcement officials after not hearing from the divers by mid-afternoon.

A team of three volunteer divers recovered the bodies at about 8:30 p.m. Spivey was found at 127 feet, and Sanchez was found at 67 feet. Diver Eric Deister said he believed the father and son reached depths of 233 feet using air for breathing instead of an oxygen, helium and nitrogen blend, which counters the narcotic effects of nitrogen.

"I can't emphasize training enough," Deister said the day after the accident. "If they had training, they'd probably be with their families today. Nothing down there is worth your life."

Chester Spivey Jr., Spivey's father, said in days following the accident he warned his son about diving at Eagle Nest Sink, and that he would like to see the cave closed to divers.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the deaths.

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