Scuba Diver Recounts Horror Of Getting Sucked Into A Nuclear Power Plant Pipe

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A scuba diver told CNN Saturday he got sucked into a nuclear plant pipe that vacuum up more than 500,000 gallons of ocean water per minute.

“When I was first sucked into the pipe, it was so turbulent it was unbelievable,” Christopher Le Cun told CNN about his ride through an underwater pipe into the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in Florida. “I had to hang onto my mask. It was 20-30 seconds before I got my bearings.”

Le Cun went on to tell reporters he spent four or five minutes tumbling end over end in the quarter-mile long, pitch-black darkness.

“Then I saw a tiny light in the distance, almost like somebody lit a match, then all the sudden it was on me,” Le Cun told reporters. “It spit me out into the sunlight into this canal and there were tons of fish around. Goliath groupers, tarpons, a bunch of fish that didn’t make it.”

He wound up in a pond at the plant, which is used as a holding container for water that will eventually be used to cool the plant reactor core.

“‘You’re really lucky, we were getting ready to leave for the night in five minutes,’ ” a worker at the plant allegedly told Le Cun after spotting him bobbing up and down in the pond.

Le Cun’s wild ride happened in July. He has since filed a lawsuit against Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), the power company that operates and maintains the pipeline. He told CNN the pipeline was not adequately marked.

“The diver in July intentionally swam into one of the intake pipes after bypassing a piece of equipment to minimize the entry of objects,” Greg Brostowicz, an FPL spokesman, told CNN. There was a protective gate over the pipe, but Le Cun chose to ignore it, Brostowicz added.

Le Cun said he saw a cap, but it was not “designed to keep anybody or anything out.”

This is not the first time someone has been jettisoned through an underwater nuclear pipeline.

According to a report from United Press International, William Lamm was sucked into a set of pipelines owned by FPL in 1989.

“I thought I was dead,” Lamm said in the UPI report. “It was darker than any dark I have ever seen. I tumbled and bounced all over the sides of the pipe.”

He told reporters he had reoccurring nightmares about the day he was jettisoned through the pipeline.

Le Cun told CNN he may have to give up scuba diving as well. “I really don’t want to give it up, but I don’t know,” he told CNN.

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Chris White