Scuba Diver's Body Found 17 Years Later

Donald Christopher Windecker's remains 'in amazing condition'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2011 1:08 PM CDT
Updated Aug 13, 2011 7:00 PM CDT
Scuba Diver's Body Found 17 Years Later
Lake Tahoe.   (©jimg944)

(Newser) – On July 10, 1994, scuba diver Donald Christopher Windecker started to sink while ascending after a dive in Lake Tahoe with a friend and was never seen again. On July 23—a little more than 17 years later—his body was discovered by a group of divers 265 feet below the surface. His remains (which are "in amazing physical condition" thanks to the 35-degree water and pressure at such depths, notes an officer) were recovered a few days later by a remote-controlled mini-submarine, and authorities confirmed his identity yesterday.

Windecker was found on an underwater shelf in a notoriously dangerous part of the lake; the depth plunges to 1,645 feet just beyond the ledge where he was found. Officials still don't know what led to Windecker's demise; he reportedly had difficulty with his equipment before starting to sink. His friend attempted to help but started to run out of air, the Los Angeles Times reports. "We'll be able to do a thorough autopsy," the officer says. "He may have had a heart attack or a stroke or maybe just ran out of air. Hopefully we'll determine what happened." (Read more Lake Tahoe stories.)

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