Ben McDaniel’s parents believe two things: That their 30-year-old son dived into an underwater cave in Vortex Springs in Florida on the 18th of August, 2010. And that he is dead. What happened in between those two events has completely turned their life upside down.
Ben was an avid diver; his parents lived just a short distance from Vortex Springs and he was there weekly. While he frequented the spring, he never received sufficient training and wasn’t experienced. The spring consists of of a 200ft basin which leads to an underground cave system. At the entrance to the grace is an ominous sign, warning divers that continuing past that point could be dangerous. In the 1990s, 13 divers perished in the cave.
On the 20th of August, it was noticed that Ben’s car was still in the parking lot where it had remained for two days. Witnesses came forward to say they had encountered Ben on the evening of the 18th of August. He was descending down into the cave. He reached the lock gate which is only opened for experienced divers and tried to give the gate open. Eduardo Taran, an experienced diver who worked at the springs, witnessed this and opened the gate for him. This was the last time he was ever seen.
The spring was closed while his disappearance was investigated. There was no sign of a struggle at his car and his belongings say untouched. Over the forthcoming years, police and experienced divers alike have searched every nook and cranny of the cave system. Many divers are adamant that Ben isn’t inside the cave. Some theorise that he was murdered while others theorise he faked his own death. His family, however, are sure that he is dead and that his body still remains submerged. Nevertheless, his body has never been found.