News

Divers survive rip current

A notoriously strong current was too much for three divers visiting the waters of the Keystone jetty Monday.

After diving for approximately 45 minutes, Vancouver, B.C. resident John Nyboer began to sense the current was intensifying. He signaled to his daughter, Beth, and another companion to surface. During their ascent, the trio became separated and that is when the trouble began.

“As we rose, (the current) got stronger,” Nyboer said. “It was strong enough you couldn’t swim against it.”

He said he was able to make the ascent by clinging to rocks along the way to shallower water. He said this was not his first time diving at the site, which is known for clear water and diverse sealife sightings.

Nyboer said that during the ascent, he became separated from his daughter. He said he waited for one minute for any sign of his daughter before continuing to surface.

Beth said that she did not panic once she realized they had become separated. “I thought, ‘You better go to the surface and quick,” she said.

After reaching top side, Nyboer noticed that Beth and the other companion had also surfaced, but inside the harbor in front of an incoming ferry. Nyboer said he sounded his emergency whistle and shouted for the other two to swim with the current to the north, toward the campground.

“We were heading back in, and as we rose, the current got them,” he said.

The incoming ferry was able to maneuver around the two divers and docked normally. It deployed an emergency raft that towed Beth and the other diver to shore at the campground.

After the rescue, all three said they were thankful that everything turned out OK and they were able to utilize their training to remain calm.

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at eberto@whidbeynewstimes.com

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