Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Report: Breathing apparatus became entangled, caused Hernando diver to drown

BROOKSVILLE — The diver looking for David Voiles' body found the bag of golf balls first.

Voiles, a 43-year-old Army reservist and experienced diver, made extra money retrieving balls from water hazards at local golf courses. He had been busy at Sherman Hills Golf Club in Ridge Manor West on the second day of 2012, searching for errant shots in a man-made lake near the 10th hole.

Voiles never came home that night, and friends and family feared the worst.

The next day, a diver from the Pasco Sheriff's Office, struggling to see in the murky water, came upon the nylon bag filled with roughly 500 balls, according to a Hernando Sheriff's Office report released to the Tampa Bay Times this week.

The diver followed a nylon rope attached to the bag and found Voiles' regulator entangled in the line. The breathing apparatus had been pulled across his back and out of his reach, the report said.

Voiles' body was found at 10:37 a.m. Jan. 3, face down on the bottom of the pond in about 8 feet of water. Clad in a wet suit, gloves and flippers, he was wearing a single air tank on his back. His diving mask was still in place.

A knife that Voiles might have used to free his regulator from the tangled line hung from his harness.

"(I)t appears he was attempting to retrieve the knife when he could no longer hold his breath," Detective John Ellis wrote.

Investigators would soon confirm that Voiles died by accidental drowning. But the report, released after the investigation was officially closed, sheds more light on what happened to the man who had been a certified diver since high school.

An autopsy completed the next day found no physical ailments that could have contributed to Voiles' death. Tests conducted on his diving gear found no problems.

The report offers insight into the challenges that Voiles faced as he working with little visibility in a lake that reached depths of more than 20 feet. The water temperature in the area where his body was found hovered near 58 degrees. The bag of golf balls weighed 85 pounds.

An Indiana native who stood about 6 feet tall and played amateur football as a younger man, Voiles was known for his sense of humor, friends said.

Voiles, who lived east of Brooksville, was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq from 2004 to 2005 as a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard. He received a Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal, among other honors, for his service in Iraq. He joined the Florida National Guard the following year.

He volunteered as a youth group leader at his church, Hillside Community Baptist, east of Brooksville. At the time of his death, Voiles was taking online seminary courses through Liberty University, a Christian college based in Lynchburg, Va., with thoughts of becoming a chaplain himself.

Teresa, his wife of six years, was at the water's edge when divers found his body.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or

Report: Breathing apparatus became entangled, caused Hernando diver to drown 02/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: Sinkholes take Florida's quirks to a whole 'nother level

    Public Safety

    So all of this — the beaches, palm trees and fresh grouper sandwiches — comes with a few extenuating costs. To live in Florida is to accept a lifestyle of hazards, both peculiar and deadly. Lightning strikes and hurricanes, for example. Alligators and sharks, too. Floods, drug traffickers, spring break and …

    Two days after a sinkhole opened in front of her Spring Hill home in 2014, Linda Fisher packs up to leave for good.
  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 18: Despite feeling ill, this pilgrim passes the midpoint in her 500-mile journey on foot


    Day 18: Lédigos to El Burgo Ranero: 34.3 km, 12.25 hours (Total for Days 1-18 = 428 km (266 miles)

    Today was a struggle.

  3. Former Rays/current Cubs manager Joe Maddon featured on NBC Sunday news show


    Former Rays and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be featured on this week's "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" show at 7 p.m. on NBC, the Harry Smith interview covering not just Maddon's on-field accomplishments but his extensive efforts to help his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.

    "Here's what's so …

    Joe Maddon talking with NBC News' Harry Smith.
  4. For starters: Souza returns to lineup



  5. Actor John Heard dies at age 72


    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.