Santa Rosa, New Mexico –  The City of Natural Lakes is dealing with the tragic death of navy veteran Shane Thompson, 43, from accidentally drowning at the Blue Hole.

The Blue Hole is one of most famous – with a 24-meter-depth – swimming holes in Santa Rosa, known for its clear water where you can even throw a bottle or a nickel and you can see it from the bottom of the hole –Billy the Kid used to swim in there – and it’s known as a “low level” hole for inexperienced and unskilled divers.

An experienced diver and navy veteran, Shane Thompson, died at age 43 from accidentally drowning at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Credit: NBC San Diego

However, there have happened too many unfortunate events. Two divers in training died back in 1976, and was sealed off from the public ever since. New Mexico State Police divers made a map of the caves – that stretched as far south as Texas – while searching for the bodies.

Navy veteran Shane Thompson – who grew up diving in the Florida Keys – along with another member of the ADM Exploration Foundation, ventured these caves last weekend trying to “clear” the whole map of its winding tunnels, but Thompson never resurfaced after diving about 194 feet under water.

Santa Rosa Police Chief Jude Gallegos stated that apparently something went terribly wrong and maybe Thompson started to panic. On Thursday, the authorities announced that the 43-year-old veteran died from accidentally drowning, but until today it’s still unclear why.

What went wrong

Thompson, who was at the time with elite divers from ADM Exploration, was using a rebreather which is an equipment that recycles the diver’s breath with oxygen and allows him or her to stay underwater for long periods of time.

One of the divers, Mike Young, told that he and Thompson were looking for primary exploration passageways where he ventured through a narrow obstruction into the small chamber and Thompson followed him. Shane was supposed to stay outside, but he didn’t mind and entered anyway. Young managed to exit the area following a safety line but without visibility.

Young later swan down to turn around but Thompson continued upward and took a wrong turn and became trapped on an unmapped part that led to nowhere. By the time Young found Thompson he had died, and his body was recovered the next day.

Santa Rosa Police officer Mike Guana stated that the caves should be sealed off for good and never let anybody back into those caves and he was given the word that those are the most dangerous caves they’ve ever dived anywhere.

Source: The Washington Post