Crews search for missing diver, friends suspect alligator attack | News
Brooksville, Florida - The search will continue Tuesday morning for a diver who disappeared, hired by a golf course to retrieve golf balls. David Voiles was last seen along the bank of a lake at the Sherman Hills Golf Club east of Brooksville.
Any number of things can go wrong under water, but one of the biggest concerns, even this time of year with the cold weather, is the threat of an alligator attack.
David Voiles was last seen Monday afternoon and now, friends and family are losing hope he may still be alive.
A Hernando Sheriff's Office helicopter hovers, shining a spotlight into the frigid waters below. As emergency crews search the shoreline, a golf cart equipped with a diving tank is the only sign of 43-year-old David Voiles. He arrived at the Sherman Hills Golf Club Monday morning, hired to retrieve golf balls, then disappeared.
"It looks like they're doing their very best to figure out what's happened, because we really don't know. I mean his equipment is gone, he's gone, and left everything behind. And there's no sign of him. We just really have no idea what's taken place," says Joe Santerelli, the pastor of Hillside Community Baptist Church.
Overnight friends and fellow church members gathered alongside David's wife.
"As people heard they just started coming to support Terri and be with her. We were hoping for really good news earlier on, and the longer it gets the bleaker it looks," says Santerelli.
He says Voiles was a longtime diving enthusiast who just returned from a tour in the Middle East, awarded a purple heart, after surviving an IED attack that nearly cost him his life.
A friend told him about the diving job two years ago as a way to earn extra cash.
But just like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, diving for golf balls had its own hazards.
"Equipment problems, breathing problems, with it being cold, even the gator could possibly be in here," says Shannon Baxter, a golf ball diver.
On his Facebook page Voiles kept a photo gallery and even named the gators he encountered in the lakes. This lake at Sherman Hills was no exception.
"They'll drown their prey and burry it and come back later to eat it. So you never know when they're going to strike," says Baxter.
The search will resume shortly after sunrise as family members hope now for an answer about what happened.
"Without knowing for sure, finding his remains will bring a little closure, and a time of healing," says Santerelli.
The Sheriff's Office is expected to bring a dive team out equipped with underwater depth finding equipment.
This lake isn't huge. It's about the size of a football field. Deputies weren't sure Monday night about the lake's depth, but estimated between 10 and 25 feet deep in some areas.
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