Monday, June 22, 2009

Scuba Giant Dies During Dive to Sunken Freighter

Over the weekend, the dive community lost another champion.

He was a giant in the scuba diving world, logging more than 3,500 dives, many of them to the underwater resting place of the famed Andrea Doria ocean liner.

On Saturday, Joseph D. Terzuoli -- known as Captain Zero -- made his final dive.

Terzuoli died in the waters 53 miles east of Atlantic City during a dive to a sunken freighter. He was 46 years old.

Authorities are still investigating how Terzuoli -- a former Todt Hill resident who moved to Wall Township, N.J. three years ago -- met his end.

A spokesman with the New Jersey State Police said Terzuoli may have become tangled in some wires or fishing line, and couldn't get himself free.

Terzuoli, the captain of the boat John Jack, was alone underwater, diving the wreckage of the Texel -- a Dutch steamer that was sunk by a German U-boat in 1918 -- when the accident took place, officials said.

Another diver on his boat noticed something was amiss when his bubbles stopped coming up to the surface of the water, said Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police.

Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman, said Terzuoli's scuba mask was off when his crew retrieved him.

Terzuoli, a mechanical engineer by profession, had been diving since he was 13 years old, said his wife, Susan.

"Diving was his life," she said last night.

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Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Zero's family and friends.

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