The Darwin Awards

1999 Darwin Awards

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Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it.

That Sinking Feeling
1999 Darwin Award Winner Confirmed True by Darwin

Rickey, a 38-year-old experienced diver, drowned when he jumped into the Gulf with his weight belt on to retreive a floating boarding ladder.

He had headed out with two friends on his 35-foot Mako powerboat for a day of diving and spearfishing. The friends said Rickey had taken off his mask, fins, tanks, and bouyancy vest when an errant boarding ladder floated out of reach. He jumped in to retrieve it. With no fins to propel him and no vest to help him float, he sank so quickly his two friends could not reach him until it was too late.

His weight belt, left on the floor of the Gulf, was estimated to weigh 12 to 15 pounds. Since the belts have a safety "quick-release" lever, it is a puzzle to friends and family how the experienced diver could have made such a mistake. Rickey's grieving widow Doreen said, "My husband was a man of the sea. Sometimes he'd get too excited when he was out there."

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Submitted by: Larry Buck

Reference: St. Petersburg Times

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