Boy, 16, Dead After Diving at Dutch Springs Saturday

Royersford teen was scuba diving with his father at the Lower Nazareth water adventure park.

A 16-year-old boy died Saturday at  following an incident at Dutch Springs scuba diving and aqua park in Lower Nazareth Township.

An autopsy was performed this morning on Kyle Kulp of Royersford. Kulp was diving with his father and a group, according to Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim. Grim said determination of the cause and manner of death is pending an investigation and toxicology test results.

Dozens of friends are posting messages of condolence about Kyle on a Facebook page created in his memory. Funeral services for the teen are planned for Friday.

This is the third death in five years stemming from a diving accident at Dutch Springs.

Divers can descend as deep as 100 feet in the spring-fed quarry that draws thousands of adventurers every year.

In 2009, Paula Brodie, 47, of White Haven, Pa., drowned at the park. Her death was ruled an accident. At the time, Grim said Brodie suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen caused by the accident.

The following details were reported by the Easton Express-Times:

Brodie's dive partner said they had gone down 10 to 15 feet when Brodie became distressed. Upon surfacing, Brodie was having trouble breathing even when her partner tried to give her oxygen. Her partner then called for help. Brodie had 10 months of diving experience.

Two men were hospitalized in separate diving incidents in 2008 but both recovered. There were two deaths at Dutch Springs in 2007.

Mike Hill May 23, 2011 at 04:35 PM
The loss of any young life, whatever the circumstances, is a tragedy. All my sympathy goes to the family and friends of this young man. But, please, don't mistake the event for evidence of a problem with recreational scuba diving. This is one of the most closely-regulated, well-disciplined and statistically safest sports in the World. Every diver must undertake rigorous training, including management of emergencies. But accidents do happen. Consider how many fatalities occur in other sports - and in everyday accidents before rushing to judgement of a sport that gives excitement, exercise and access to new and wonderful adventures to millions.
Mallory Vough (Editor) May 23, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Mike - well said on both accounts. The messages posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Kyle speak for themselves -- he was a very well-liked teen who will truly be missed. And you're also correct about the sport of scuba diving. Accidents happen no matter the sport you're partaking in, and scuba diving is no different. I'd also like to add that Dutch Springs should not get a bad rap either. Having been to Dutch Springs myself, I know the people who work there take safety very, very seriously, whether you're scuba diving, at the aqua park or taking on the sky challenge.
felciia yohn May 23, 2011 at 05:09 PM
I will miss kyle very much, he was a close friend.. and i still cant beilieve this happend to him. I give his family the best of luck. love, felicia
Sheriffchris May 23, 2011 at 06:49 PM
After ll those deaths...something is not right.....I for one do not believe in fate or bad luck.
SadDiver May 23, 2011 at 07:55 PM
As an Instructor I agree that 1 fatality is too much, especially to the family of the victim and my deepest condolences go out to the family and friends. But a certified diver must accept that there are considerable risks in this sport and while we do everything we can to minimize and prepare for these risks, they are always present. That being said, as a correction to above, Scuba diving is in no way whatsoever a closely regulated sport, there are no local, state, or federal regulations on scuba diving at all(not to be confused with regulations on tanks by the DOT), all certifications are by independent agencies and their certified instructors who themselves set the standards which vary from organization to organization. In any dive accident it is typically easy to determine what and how mistakes were made and we use these incidents as warnings and training aids for future divers, but this does not mean that they won't be made again or that the risks will ever be eliminated. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family.
R S May 23, 2011 at 09:40 PM
I agree with SadDiver; one death *IS* is always too much; but diving is a dangerous sport and carries risk. I am a little concerned about the article as what it fails to point out that this may be the third death in 5 years, but as a percentage of the number of dives that have been conducted without incident, this is tiny. I am not able to confirm, but I believe Dutch Springs takes in over 100,000 divers a year. For there to be three deaths in half a million dives, it is sad, but a very small percentage. Not at all expressed in the article and I think it is VERY unfair to leave the uneducated reader believing that either diving is excessive dangerous, or that Dutch Springs is at all 'unsafe'. It is not; it has some of the best diving facilities in the North East, if not the country.
Mallory Vough (Editor) May 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM
R S - Speaking as both the editor of Nazareth Patch and as a patron of Dutch Springs, I will again say, as I did in an earlier comment, that Dutch Springs should not get a bad rap. Having been to Dutch Springs myself, I know the people who work there take safety very, very seriously, whether you're scuba diving, at the aqua park or taking on the sky challenge. Calls to Dutch Springs for comment were not answered or returned, so for the time being, we cannot include any information other than the facts and what is available through the Dutch Springs website. Patch in no way is saying Dutch Springs or scuba diving in general is unsafe.
Mike Hill May 24, 2011 at 01:04 PM
This shouldn't become a discussion about diver training, but your suggestion that diving is not closely regulated is simply incorrect. Instructors do not set their own standards. An international body, the World Recreational Scuba Training Council, sets out minimum standards for entry-level training. All the major agencies adhere to these standards and students must meet rigorous standards to achieve certification. If they aren't certified they will not be allowed to dive at any reputable dive centre. Dutch Springs is an excellent facility with the highest standards and insists on proof of certification. The fact is that accidents happen - sometimes with the most tragic outcome - as in this case. But, I repeat, please don't surrender to the temptation to blame the sport or any lack of high training standards.
Everwatchful May 25, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Both adults and minors who visit Dutch Springs are requied to sign a waiver releasing the facilities from any liability, even if just swimming there. Does that tell you something? Dutch Springs recommends a minimum of a 7mm wetsuit with a hood and gloves when diving. That is because the water is cold and cold water can contribute to thermal shock, confusion, and even cardiac arrest. Swimming where the water temperature is below 70 degrees is fraught with peril. Don't be fooled by the air temperature. Hundreds drown every year due cold water swimming and diving, particularly when sudden immersion is involved. Swimmer beware. In memory of Austin.
JoeC May 25, 2011 at 03:13 AM
@Everwatchful: "...Dutch Springs are requied to sign a waiver releasing the facilities from any liability, even if just swimming there. Does that tell you something?" Signing a waiver is simply a result of the litigious society that we live in. I am a Master Scuba Instructor and Cave Diver and I can unequivocally tell you that the most dangerous part of any dive is driving your to the dive site. The training, procedures and equipment of scuba is highly evolved. And if (and this is a big if) the scuba divers are serious and follow their training and use the proper equipment and exposure protection, scuba is one of the safest recreational activities there are. However, if divers are lackadaisical and don't take seriously the potential dangers, the underwater realm will hurt or kill you. Additionally accident analysis usually finds a multiple chain of events that lead to a fatality. If anyone of those events was handle properly the accident would not have happened. The most important thing is to learn from a diving accident (and we I do not claim to know the facts on this accident) and if the cause leads to "diver error". The message needs to get out to divers, either take your dive training and procedures seriously or DO NOT DIVE.
HCA May 25, 2011 at 11:21 AM
All speculation until we know cause of death? At only 15' with no duration? Rules out a lot of things. Panic assent from 15' can cause lung expansion issues but fatal? Anybody that is not a diver has no clue and should get educated before commenting on the relative safety of scuba, seriously, you're clueless! To those who dive: take a rescue diver course, get your shop to run a rrescue refresher course. I've been diving 40 years and instruct. I really want to know the cause of this tragic death so I can educate current and future divers especially if the reason was preventable.
Susan October 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM
I am his mother's best friend. He died because he did not have enough air in his tank. Spoon whose fault is that. Great boy dead young ...hopefully in a better place. Love u Kyle and happy early birthday
Susan October 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Hca...any possibility this was on purpose? Many things going on here contact me. Susansherry0123@yahoo.com
Lee Snover July 31, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Very sorry for the family and this young man. Diving is risky business. Sounds like this could be a combination of factors. Prayers to you all.
Greg Mahnke August 22, 2013 at 01:51 AM
The only one responsible for the amount of air in his tank is the one with the gauge. That would be the diver who should have checked it before entering the water after getting in and should be monitoring it constantly. That air is life. And If the editor is a diver why does the article say his partner tried giving him oxygen before calling for help. There is a big difference between air and oxygen and any diver knows that. This is a tragic loss for all involved but we all know its risky and that risk level depends on the divers actions 99% of the time.


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