Florida Diver Is Pulled Into Nuclear Plant Pipe

It's not the first time a scuba diver has survived the 1/4-mile ride
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2016 2:33 AM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2016 6:40 AM CST
Florida Diver Is Pulled Into Nuclear Plant Pipe
Stock image of a scuba diver.   (Shutterstock)

Florida native Christopher Le Cun was out enjoying a day on the boat with his family and best friend on July 12, 2015, when the two decided to anchor to a buoy and scuba dive down to mysterious structures faintly visible below. Le Cun swam up to one that he likened to a building and felt a sudden, strong current. "He got sucked in like a wet noodle—he just, poof, gone," his diving partner, Robert Blake, tells WPTV. Le Cun says his surroundings instantly dissolved into "complete darkness" and he struggled to hold onto his mask and regulator while he spent roughly five minutes being sucked through a 1/4-mile-long, 16-foot-wide intake pipe that pulls in 500,000 gallons of water a minute to cool the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant's reactors.

"You get to do a lot of thinking," says Le Cun, who envisioned a turbine chopping him up on the other end. "Do I just pull the regulator out of my mouth and just die?" Meanwhile, Blake surfaced, horrified, and Le Cun's wife called 911. But Le Cun survived without intervention, having been spat out into the plant's cooling pond. Le Cun, who tells CNN there were no warning signs, is now filing a lawsuit against Florida Power and Light, which issued a statement saying the intake pipe has a protective covering and that Le Cun "intentionally" swam in. An FPL rep also tells CNN the buoy above the pipe tells people to stay 100 feet away. This isn't the first time a diver has survived the journey: William Lamm tells UPI his ride through the dark tunnel in 1989 was "devastating." (Check out why these scuba divers are knowingly risking their lives.)

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