Florida

Husband dies after diving the Vandenberg wreck in Key West, sheriff says

Part of Brigham Thompson’s Facebook profile photo
Part of Brigham Thompson’s Facebook profile photo Facebook

A 52-year-old Key West man died after diving the Vandenberg Wreck Saturday morning and afternoon, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Brigham Thompson’s last post on his Facebook page, from 10:04 a.m. Saturday with three photos: “Running to the Vandy for a double.”

Three hours and 30 minutes later, Thompson was pronounced dead at Lower Keys Medical Center. He’s survived by his wife, Mimsi Lippy Thompson.

MCSO says “No foul play is suspected.”

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According to MCSO and Thompson’s Facebook page, he dove Saturday with Captain’s Corner Dive Center charter. Captain’s Corner’s website says it dives at least one of the Key West wrecks every morning and “Most mornings we do a double dip (with a mandatory one-hour hour surface interval in between dives) on the Vandenberg...”

The Vandenberg Wreck, the sunken former ship used for military transport and missile tracking named after Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, acts as an artificial reef since its May 2009 sinking.

“Thompson’s dive partner stated that he motioned to Thompson that he needed to surface, but Thompson didn’t join him and instead went into a lower room on the wreck,” MCSO said. “The dive partner stated that Thompson was still in the wreck and he lost sight of him as he was surfacing.”

MCSO says the dive captain found Thompson still in the wreck in about 110 feet of water and 25 feet from the exit. He’d shed all his dive gear other than a mask.

CPR was attempted once Thompson was brought to the surface while the Sea Eagle went to the Coast Guard Station Key West. Paramedics took Thompson to Lower Keys Medical Center.

Thompson’s Facebook page says he’s a Florida State graduate and a native of Sausalito, California.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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