January 26th, 2003

Bodies of 2 area divers found under ice at quarry

By Linda Cook

LOWDEN, Iowa — The bodies of two Quad-City area men who apparently died in an
ice-diving accident were found early Sunday..

Kevin Michael Petersen, 31, of 18739 317th St., Long Grove, and Tracy Michael
Humphreys, 30, 1708 225th St., Calamus, were discovered about 9:45 a.m.
Sunday.

Petersen and Humphreys had planned to go ice scuba diving Saturday at
Wendling Quarry, 2080 160th St., about three miles southwest of here,
according to the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department. They were dropped off but

did not appear when their ride came to pick them up. The driver waited for
several hours for the divers, then called for help..

Emergency personnel, including the Lowden Fire Department, Cedar County
Sheriff’s Department, Bettendorf Fire and Rescue, the Special Operations
Response Team and Dive Operations searched the area. The divers’ personal
gear and clothing were discovered near two holes cut in the ice..

Divers made several attempts late Saturday to find the two men. The search
was called off about 1 a.m. Sunday because of extreme weather conditions..

The search began again at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with members of the Lowden and
Wheatland fire departments and the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department.
Petersen and Humphreys were found underneath the ice about 275 feet out into
the quarry. They were pronounced dead at the scene by the Cedar County
medical examiner’s staff. The bodies were transported to St. Luke’s Hospital
in Cedar Rapids, where autopsies have been scheduled..

Mark Poulos, scuba instructor for Sentry Scuba out of Moline, is a certified
ice diver and an ice diving instructor. He served as a technical adviser
Saturday night at the quarry..

“Mostly your rescue people around here do the ice diving. It’s used
primarily for rescue and recovery,” he said. .

He said that ice diving requires special training, and death is rare if
proper procedures are followed. “It is very beautiful if you do it properly.
The water is clearer (during the winter) in most lakes than in the summer
time. Actually, it’s warmer under the ice than it is on top. It’s at least
33 degrees under the ice, and you’re not dealing with wind chill..

Divers cut triangle-shaped holes in the ice, he said. “It’s easier to get in
and out because you’ve got the point there, and you can put your hands up on
the ice to help you get out. And having someone on the outside also helps you
get in and out.”.

With proper equipment, people can stay under about 20 or 30 minutes..

“The major problem with diving under the ice is that you have to watch for
hypothermia,” Poulos said. “Hypothermia happens when the core temperature of
your body dips to a point where it starts affecting your other organs. It
affects your internal organs, and it can kill you. It just numbs you
completely,” he said.