A Benton County couple scuba diving together with an underwater light off the south Newport jetty Sunday suffered a classic mishap yesterday evening that ended the life of the wife.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies say that Albany residents Eric and Natalie Glass had been diving off the south jetty for most of the day Sunday and were headed back to the shore. When the two surfaced, Natalie told Eric she was out of air. Eric reached out and helped to pull her toward shore but by then Natalie was having trouble keeping her head above water and soon became disoriented. During a frenzied struggle, Eric lost his grip on Natalie and she slipped beneath the surface. Eric screamed for help and other divers in the area dove in to try to rescue Natalie. Her dive light was still shining so they got to her fairly quickly. But by then it was too late. Natalie had drowned.
A local dive shop owner told News Lincoln County that underwater panic is nothing like anything you can imagine. How to deal with it is taught in scuba classes and students are put through a number of drills. The first directive is to help where you can, but if someone in trouble goes into underwater hysterics, with violent flailing, clutching or grabbing, it’s best to break free and save yourself lest you die as well.
Natalie Glass’ body was taken to a local funeral home where an autopsy will be conducted and then transported to Albany where funeral arrangements are pending.