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Stay Out Stay Alive Fatal Accident Summaries
for 2006


July 12, 2006

Following an extensive search Thursday, Oakland County Sheriff's Office divers located the body of John Michael Bliss, 51, of Waterford Township, who drowned while scuba diving in Maceday Lake on Wednesday.

Deep waters about 300 feet off the central western shore of the lake, as well as a host of discarded items found on the lake bottom, impeded efforts of about 20 divers who worked both Wednesday evening and into the mid-afternoon Thursday.

"The dive was difficult because of all the debris down there," said Undersheriff Mike McCabe. He noted that divers were forced to search around numerous items such as a speed boat, bicycles and realestate signs.

"And, keep in mind, it's 39 degrees down there and as dark as can be, because at 102 feet, there is no sunlight getting through."

The search began just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, when Waterford police received a 9-1-1 call from members of the Brighton-based Sea Otters Dive Club. After surfacing from a recreational dive, they discovered that one of their group of 10 was missing. Group members descended to search for the diver but began running low on air.

After receiving the call for assistance, Waterford police immediately requested support from the Sheriff's Offi ce Marine Division. Divers dispatched to the scene continued searching the lake until sunset, to no avail.

One rescue diver experienced numbness in his fingers after rising to the surface too quickly and was taken to a local hospital to be treated with oxygen. He and his dive partner - who also went to the hospital for precautionary testing - were released Wednesday evening.

Capt. Charles Snarey said it was unclear how much diving experience the Waterford man had. The Wednesday night excursion, however, had been organized for advanced open water divers by Aquatic Adventures of MI, LLC in Brighton. A representative of the company refused to comment Thursday.

Several Maceday Lake property owners said that, while the lake can be busy on weekends, it is generally quiet during the week. Some said accidents and deaths on the lake are rare.

Several lakefront property owners said that area of the lake is popular with divers because of submerged gravel pit mining equipment that can be found. (Source: Oakland Press/Michigan)