Dr. Guy Garman, a St. Croix physician and scuba diver known in the diving community as "Dr. Deep," died Saturday in an attempt to set a world record for the deepest scuba dive ever, by diving to 1,200 feet.
According to Ed Buckley, owner of the dive shop St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, and the Scubaboard.com website, Saturday's dive started precisely as planned. Garman and his support divers went into the water on schedule at 6 a.m. and descended into the depths. The support divers, part of a 28-member support crew that included a medical team and three boats, were to wait at designated depths to accompany Garman as he returned slowly to the surface, decompressing along the way. Garman went for the bottom alone.
"Everything was on time and doing well," Buckley reported in an email Sunday morning, "until he didn’t make it back up to the first stop where he was to be met by the first of several deep support divers."
Scubaboard.com reported: "The first deep support divers were to meet up with him at 360 feet, 38 minutes after he descended. He never arrived at that first stop. Divers stayed as long as possible and more deep support divers went in to help with a deep vigil hoping that something had just seriously delayed him."
Because he was attached to a 1,300-foot weighted line, it is impossible for him to have wandered off and surfaced in the wrong place.
"We probably won’t know what happened until and unless his body is recovered," Buckley said Scubaboard said plans are being made to obtain the equipment to lift the descent line and retrieve his body sometime in the coming week.
"It was a terrible loss for his family, the technical diving community, and the many patients that he always served with a smile here," Buckley said.
Scubaboard echoed the sentiment.
"To say that we're all very saddened is an understatement. Regardless of whether you agreed with his record goal or not, he was more knowledgeable about diving, and specifically deep and technical diving, than almost anyone else on the planet. His wife and son were on the boats during the dive this morning and respect for their privacy and that of his other son and daughter will be appreciated."
A video posted on youtube (See Related Links, below) shows Garman and details his two years of organizing and practicing for the dive. After showing the preparations and discussing the steps being taken to set the diving record, Garman looks at the camera and says, "What do you think? All good!"