Supporting search, rescue and recovery services for divers.
By Cindie Roussel (Blake Terry's Mother)
Nobile: “Ms Cindie, it’s not good. Blake did not surface. We were making a dive at 160, 180 down and we were coming up together and then I shot a fish. I looked back and I did not see Blake.”
Cindie: “What do you mean, Nobile?”
Nobile: “It’s not good, Ms.Cindie, all I saw was bubbles so I followed them but I could not find him. I went another way to see if he was around the platform and then I went to the top and started screaming his name.”
Cindie: “Nobile, what do you mean he did not surface??? I can’t breathe…I can’t breathe, Nobile.”
Nobile: “Ms. Cindie, who is there with you?”
Cindie: “No one….I CAN’T BREATHE, OH MY GOD…I CAN’T BREATHE!”
This was the worst night of my life. Nobile proceeded to tell me that they had called the Coast Guard, but I could not comprehend what he was saying to me. All I could remember was that I could not catch my breath. All the air had just vanished in my lungs and I could not breathe. I called my neighbor from the house phone while I kept Nobile on my cell phone. She came over and she wrote down the information from Nobile while I sat there just numb. Earlier, Jared Uhlich had called me on my landline to check on Blake. He said he had a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach as Blake was not answering his cell phone. I remembered telling him not to worry, Blake is offshore and his phone is probably not working. Within a few minutes of hanging up with Jared, Nobile called. I had to dial *69 to get Jared’s phone number as I did not have his number in my phone. Jared became my center point of pulling the dive team together. My house became a headquarters for the search and rescue of Blake. What do you do? Who do you call? How do you recover someone 70 miles out and 900 feet down? I always worried, but never dreamed I would be put in such a helpless position. Nothing, I mean nothing prepares you for this type of call.
By Jonathan Nobile
Nobile and Blake
Blake and I had been fishing for three days aboard the Sea Quest when we pulled up to “Lobster” (EB 873). We decided to make a quick bounce dive for grouper before it got dark. We got our gear together and suited up for the dive. We both had 2500psi of air in our tanks - 500psi short, but no big deal since we have done “a lot worse on a lot less.” The dive plan was to drop down to 200ft, stick a couple of grouper, come up to 60ft and look for lobster. We splashed down and began our descent. We were side-by-side the whole way down and everything seemed to be fine. When we hit 200ft, the visibility became very poor due to the lack of light and the nitrogen narcosis was coming on heavy. You could see up, but you couldn’t see down. The visibility was about 15-20ft. Blake and I were side-by-side when I spotted 2 groupers. One took off, but I was able to make a shot on a decent sized scamp. He went into the conductors, but I was able to pull him up and out. I was about 10ft above Blake at that time. He was not chasing any fish, nor did I see any more grouper. I kicked up a little while trying to get my grouper under control. When I looked down, Blake was following me up. I got to about 160ft and when I looked down I did not see Blake - only a stream of bubbles coming from where we had just been. This has happened before; I can see his bubbles, he is right there, and he will be up in a second. I never heard a spear gun fire. I waited and waited. I’m not sure how long I waited, but once my mind told me to go see what’s going on, I headed back down to see if he was okay. I followed his bubbles back to around 200ft, maybe deeper. My depth gauge only went to 200ft, so I’m not sure how deep I went since I was not wearing a computer. The light was cutting out and it was very dark and the narcosis was heavy in my head. I noticed the bubbles I was following were very small, and I questioned if this was something from the rig because this doesn’t seem like bubbles Blake would make. Had he ascended on the other side of the conductors? I swam up to about 140ft and looked up and out, scanning every bit of the rig I could see. No Blake. I went back down to about 180ft to see if I could find the bubbles I had seen earlier, but they were gone and this was about as far as I could go down without the light cutting out completely. I was low on air and I knew my bottom time was up. I headed up, praying to see him looking for lobster at 60ft and wondering what the hell I had been doing down there. I scanned the water the whole way to 25ft and I did not see a sign of Blake. I had to make a short safety stop which was only a minute or two, max. This was the longest minute of my life. I prayed that I would hit the surface and I would see him climbing on the boat. Once I hit the surface, I began to scream to the boat, “Where’s Blake!!?” When the crew on the boat threw up their hands and said they had not seen him, I knew he was gone and something must have happened when we were ascending. I immediately told the crew to grab another tank. I couldn’t go back down because of the nitrogen in my body, but Alex grabbed my gear and splashed down to go look for Blake. This was the quickest I have ever seen anyone swap gear and splash back down. Alex could only make it down to about 70ft before the light cut out on him. After about 10 minutes, Alex surfaced with no luck. In the mean time we scanned all around the rig to see if he had been washed out by the current. Mr. Mark called the Coast Guard, gave them our position and notified them that we had lost a diver. They were sending a cutter and a chopper ASAP. It was now dark and shock began to set in. The next thing I can remember was calling Louis and Rafe to see if they could help. Then, I made the call to rs. Cindie, Blake’s mom.
Blake was my best friend and brother, I miss him so much. He would not want us to cry for him, just “tighten up” and keep on rollin’. I am so honored to have had the pleasure of calling him my friend. He was one of the most interesting and genuine people I have ever met. He will forever live in my memories.