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Article on Ben McDaniel - Vortex Springs Case

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by jeffloughridge, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. GAdiver

    GAdiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Georgia
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    If edd didn't go in farther on a scooter then she doesn't need to try to go farther.
     
  2. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver

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  3. TreyR

    TreyR Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Charlotte, N.C.
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  4. shelby mcdaniel

    shelby mcdaniel Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Tennessee
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    No, it was stopped because only 700 ft. of line was taken down into the cave. There was still 1300 ft. of line top side but no one agreed to take it all the way back through the fourth. If this had been carried out and planned properly there would have not been questions still as to why this was not followed. Since the camera replacement cost was my responsibility I should have been given the choice---not because of your fear of really locating his body. I am not saying I do not appreciate the efforts of the divers but the plan was not discussed openly with me. It was decided by you and Edd to stop the operation then, instead of continuing the next day as I realize the divers air time had been about used up. What I have discovered since that day has made me sad as Ben's body was close to being found with a little more patience and planning.

    ---------- Post added June 22nd, 2014 at 01:51 PM ----------

    I realize this is an old posting but what the cave community divers do not know the money the IRS says is owed by Ben was filed by a family member of Ben's "then" business associate, a Mr. Paul Wiltz from Cook county, Il. Turns out this family member was Mr. Wiltz's ex-wife who filed false information as our lawyers, our accountants, private investigators and other legal teams involved. Mr. Wiltz is a wanted felon who preys on vulnerable, innocent people who have experienced tragedy. As I have stated , before Ben left on his last dive trip to Florida, we paid off all known debts incurred by him. As far as we knew there were no other monies owed at that time. It was sad to find out from all the investigations this professional con-man is still alive and well! But now he has probably latched onto another party who is also vulnerable. Ben disassociated himself after all the investigations were completed. Mr. Wiltz and his ex-wife have a warrant out for their scheme to embezzle Ben and file false tax information. The local IRS is well aware of the situation and is also on the look-out for these two parties. It would be wonderful to locate Ben's remains so all these questions could be answered as to what actually happened. Our family has not ever believed anything other that he is in the cave buried in a crevice or unexplored section. We are not unhappy with any of the divers and those who have tried to find out where he is. It is quite an emotional journey tho to try and figure out what really happened. It will soon be four years he has been gone. It will soon be six years since we buried Paul.
     
  5. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    1,853
    624
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    Shelby
    I hope all is well,and would love nothing more than to see resolution for you. You may be right,he could be in a crevice or a pile of sand,but the number of people who can do this safely is very few,and they have risked life to push things to extreme. Vortex is a very advanced level cave dive toward the back and very unstable due to shifting sand. I was called to help with the recovery but declined due to a bad incident there- a sand pile shifted and trapped me,and I had to dig my way out. We have had one fatality there for what may have been searching for Ben and the reward money. Many years ago a cave diver named Sheck Exley was called to do a recovery at a place called Telford for a missing open water diver,and he had no success,so the search was called off as a hoax. Many years later Roger Werner who was notorious for exploring small areas stumbled across this body by chance,and so the story ended. I wish nothing more than having resolution to give you closure,and not putting more cave divers at risk.
     
  6. shelby mcdaniel

    shelby mcdaniel Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Tennessee
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    To: Karstdvr
    Thank you for your response. I have probably posted too much information, and have probably upset some. But, may I say it is extremely difficult for me to come to a closure. I most definitely appreciate every diver who has been involved toward locating Ben's body. And, my response has not been too positive early on towards a few---which as I think back now was due from emotional disappointment. I do want to apologize again to those who I offended. I've never been in this situation before, and I tend to carry my feelings on my shoulder. Part of it I miss my two sons so much! They were both special to me. They both had great talents. Both were very adventurous. I am on a journey I did not request. I do believe in my heart, knowing Ben and how much he was looking forward to making a career "In the water" something terrible happened at Vortex Springs that Wednesday. Only God and Ben know for sure. I pray this incident maybe has influenced divers somewhat to make sure they have prepared safely in their dives. I would like to think there might be a GPS required for every diver to have on their person when they go into the water. I ask that all divers just make sure they spend time with their kids and love on them. I did have some great times with both boys, going hunting, scouting, fishing, camping, rock climbing, summer vacations to the beach and being their coach during their school years here in Memphis. Again, thanks to all who have tried their best to locate Ben.
     
  7. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
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    ... and that is exactly the sort of thing every diver fears would come from some emotionally-charged, well-intentioned non-diver's crusade to make our diving choices for us.

    I understand your pain. I wish you well. I hope you stay the heck out of the decision-making process that we all get to make as divers.

    Your son's fate was the result of his choices ... and even a relatively inexperienced cave diver like me shudders to see some of the choices he made. Cave diving is an unforgiving environment. It's also one of the last bastions of personal freedom and responsibility left in this country. I for one don't want to see anything "required for every diver to have when they go into the water." That's our choice to make ... not some penance that should be forced on us because of the loss of a diver who didn't make particularly good ones ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  8. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    1,853
    624
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    You make some very wise and timely comments. Sometimes I wish there was a support group for families that lost loved ones in cave diving accidents. A name I eluded to earlier was Sheck Exley,for the sport,he could be considered the "Father of cave diving",since to this day he had done more exploration etc than anybody. I met the parents of Sheck,and great people like yourself,but you have to think they wake up each day and wonder why this sport claimed both their children. I have been cave diving for 20 years,and I have lost some close friends that contributed a lot to the sport,and to this day I still wonder why. I really do hope that Ben one day is located so you and your family can have closure,and do appreciate your up beat advice. Thank you Kelly
     
  9. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Instructor, Scuba

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    Just saw the thread (I haven't been around in a while). It caught my attention because I talked with Steve Keene a few weeks back and he made mention of the search.

    My wife and I worked with Steve's team when they surveyed the cave back in 2003 (or whenever it was)...we mixed gas and did setup/cleanup dives (tank monkeys). The other three (Steve Sue and Jason) were the side-mount divers so they did the actual survey.

    I've only seen the parts of the cave you can get to back-mount and that was sometime back. I guess nothing is impossible but it's hard to imagine that somebody could be in there and not be found by Steve or one of the others.

    As to using a reward to get somebody else to try, I don't know who you could find that would be more capable in a cave like that than those who have already tried. Everybody can make their own decisions but I wouldn't like to see a diver without the requisite skills and experience be tempted by the money.

    My condolences to the family and friends.
     
    ZephyrNYC likes this.

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