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The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Lakeside Firefighters Dive for a Greater Cause


As Bob Hood neared the hull of the boat, the shouts of the victims trapped inside became louder. Hood and the Lakeside Dive Team had rushed to the scene after receiving a call of people trapped in an overturned boat on June 12, 2014. Two men were in the water, shrieking towards the direction of the sailboat.
Submerging himself into the water of Tenmile Lake with less than three feet of visibility, Hood worked his way toward the hull entrance. Upon entering the boat, Hood made a startling discovery.

“A grandmother, a mother, and an infant were trapped in a very small air pocket and had only six inches of room to breathe,” Hood said.

Hood decided to rescue the infant first. With no way of giving the infant air with a regulator, Hood had to take the infant out with no air supply. Hood made an exaggerated breathing motion and to his surprise, the baby did the same.

With the clock ticking and a waning air supply for the other victims, Hood submerged with the infant making his way out of the boat. On the way to the surface, he discovered a problem.

“Lines from the sailboat rigging had become entangled on my tank, shoulder and leg,” Hood said.

Holding the infant as high as possible and pushing through the lines, Hood pressed his way to the surface. Handing off the infant to fellow diver James Walker, Hood prepared to rescue the other victims.

After cutting the lines and clearing the passage to the boat, Hood and Walker were able to successfully extract the other two women from the overturned boat before their air supply was extinguished. Though Hood was instrumental to the rescue, he said it would not have been possible without the help of many others.

“I got to score the touchdown, but this rescue was only made possible by the professionalism and courage of my fellow rescuers,” Hood said. “At least 30 people were involved in helping with the rescue.”

Hood began his rescue work in 1993 when he was asked by the North Bend Fire Department to train to be a diver. After taking Dive International Training in 1998, a new opportunity opened.

“The Coast Guard was looking for a dive team to augment the team from North Bend that was trained by Dive Rescue International,” Hood said. “We fit the bill.”

Due to budget cuts, North Bend had to cut the dive program in 2012, but the dive team was subsequently picked up by the Lakeside Fire Department.

In order to be ready for any call they may get, the Lakeside Dive Team trains rigorously at least once a week. To be able to take further training, one must complete an initial test. The initial test consists of swimming completely submerged one lap without fins, swimming completely submerged one lap with fins, swimming 32 consecutive laps in the manner of your choice, treading water for 13 minutes, holding a 10 pound weight above the water for two minutes, taking the ten pound weight to the deep end of the pool, picking up the 10 pound weight, and swimming one final lap completely submerged. Stephan Pearson, who has only been with the dive team for a year, said the training has helped him get off the ground fast.

“Bob [Hood] puts us through intense training,” Pearson said. “The level of our skills are unheard of when I talk to other divers.”

Brandon Henderson, who has also been with the dive team for a year, but has been a certified diver since 1997, said the training helps draw the team together.

“Training helps us know we can count on each and everyone,” Henderson said. “Without that knowledge and comfort we couldn’t do our job.”

Hood has worked many rescues since he started diving for the North Bend Fire Department in 1993, but not all have worked as smoothly as the one in June.

“In my career, I have been to three overturned boats. In the first two everyone died. Things can go bad fast,” Hood said. “There is nothing like the highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster during a rescue.”

In addition to the unpredictability of the rescues, Henderson said sacrifices must be made to be a part of the dive team.

“It comes with sacrifices,” Henderson said. “On Father’s Day, we got a call and I had to leave my family.”

Each member of the Lakeside Dive Team is a volunteer, and according to Hood, the job requires a strong desire to help others.

“You have to want to do it,” Hood said. “The training to get there is ridiculous.”

Pearson said the rewards far outweigh any drawbacks the work may entail.

“The most rewarding part is seeing people in their loved one’s arms,” Pearson said.

According to Henderson, the sense of accomplishment and self-worth from the work is priceless.

“A huge reward is the sense of pride my daughter has when she tells her friends what I do,” Henderson said.

Hood said he does not regret all the work he has done to be able to be a diver, and it is important for the community to know about the Lakeside Dive Team.

“I wouldn’t trade it,” Hood said. “It’s good for people to know that there are people out there that take care of the coast of Oregon.”

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Lakeside Firefighters Dive for a Greater Cause