Victims’ Memorials

In Memory of Those That Were Lost

This page is dedicated to those that have lost their lives from under water breath-holding. If you have lost a loved one to shallow water blackout or breath-holding, please email us at shallowwaterblackoutprevention@gmail.com with the person’s name and a short bio and we will include it on this site.

 

Benjamin Craig (Benjo) Haller died on August 1, 2014 at the age of 27.
Benjo died in seven feet of water off the shore of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas while doing underwater breath holding drills to increase his time under water for spear fishing. As was so often the case with Benjo he was attempting to exceed his previous best at yet another personal challenge. He was an experienced sailor, and certified SCUBA Instructor. Upon certification, he was immediately hired by the internationally acclaimed Stuart Cove’s Dive Center in Nassau, Bahamas, and was the youngest instructor ever hired by the Center. After working at the Dive Center for a year, Benjo enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Alpine skiing was everywhere, but sailing was non-existent. Over the course of the next five years, he worked tirelessly to create The Boulder Sailing Club and to have it sanctioned and financially supported in part by the University. Using countless fundraising events, traveling throughout the west picking up donated sailboats and securing the rights to use the Boulder Reservoir, his dream came true. By the time he graduated with a degree in Film, the University was racing collegiately throughout the west. With an infectious laugh, a diamond studded smile, the good looks of a movie star, and the zest to fill every single minute of his life with adventure and personal challenges; he became a magnet for those wanting to experience life as he defined it. When he was on the water, either liquid or frozen, he was in his element or the world was his oyster.

Jack Alexander Kevin MacMillan (October 11, 2000 – January 29, 2013)

Twelve year old Jack is described by his family as “a beautiful, gentle, loving, caring young man. He was passionate about sports. He played soccer and cricket from a young age. He played tennis each week and was due to start drumming lessons the day after his passing. He was an avid reader, whether a book, his kindle, kids national geographic, or even the newspaper (sports section in particular.) He was a great mate, friendly and easily made friends. While he loved his PlayStation and Nerf gun wars, he was conscious of having a healthy balance of being outdoors. Jack was a wonderful big brother to his 3 sisters, a beautiful role model. They have lost their guide, entertainer, future protector and dearest friend.”
Jack tragically lost his life while he was practicing breath-holding in the shallow end of his family’s swimming pool. His mother was close by, as she never left he or his sisters unattended while swimming – yet another tragic example of how SWB claims it’s victims quickly and silently, with no warning to the victim or those around them.

 

Gabriel Eric Moore – (August 12,1996 – July 25, 2012)

Gabriel accidentally drowned July 25th, 2012 in a swimming pool while he was doing underwater breath holding drills. He was attempting to beat his own time underwater. Six months before his fatal accident Gabriel had shared with his friends and family that he intended to join the Navy Seals after graduating from high school. He was practicing holding his breath underwater because he knew being able to hold his breath for a long time would be important if he joined the Navy Seals. Tragically he was not aware that he could pass out and die while practicing. None of us were aware of that danger. Gabriel had a passion for physical activities of all sorts and especially running, snowboarding, scuba diving, bodybuilding and Krav Maga. For Gabriel, every day was a new opportunity to push the limits of his own body by running faster, diving deeper and lifting heavier. Gabriel had a heart of gold. He loved sharing stories about Viking mythology with his friends at El Segundo High School in California. He also loved relaxing at home, playing World of Warcraft and spending time with his chihuahua dog Skip. His mother and father, Mireille and Terry, and his brother Julien, miss him tremendously.

 

James Alexander (October 26th, 1987-April 20th, 2012)

James was born Oct. 26, 1987, in Kansas City, Kansas, the son of Nancy B. Alexander of New Bern and Dr. L. George Alexander Jr. James attended Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, N.C., for several years of elementary school before the family moved to New Bern in 1995. James attended Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, N.C., and graduated in 2006. He was a member and co-captain with his twin brother, David, of the school’s varsity soccer team and a member of the 2006 Division 2A High School Champion Swim Team. James graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2010, he was an honor student and an active member of a nationally ranked Science Olympiad team, service organizations, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was an Eagle Scout and a member of Troop 13 as well as the Order of the Arrow.

James had attempted to dive to the bottom of Solomon Bay in the Virgin Islands, but never came up alive. James was freediving with his twin brother, David. They Both graduated from Arendell Parrot Academy in 2006. In addition to his parents, James is survived by his twin brother and best friend, David, of New Bern, N.C; his sisters, Virginia of San Francisco, Calif., and Lauren of Charlotte, N.C.; his maternal grandparents, John and Reva Burns of Gainesville, Fla.; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends. His paternal grandparents, Leon and Virginia Alexander, of Charlotte, N.C., preceded him in death.

 

Vincent Casper Lemmer, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Vincent Lemmer died on December 11. 2011, At age 21. He was a qualified Dive Master and loved to be under the water.  He was enjoying a fun day with his friends, practicing diving in a scuba training pool.  He went for a dive near the training pool’s “cave” and never came back to the water’s surface.  After many hours of searching for him, his best friend found him at the entrance of the cave.   His beloved girlfriend describes him as a “unique human being with a love for the ocean and any “ugly” creature in it.”  One of his many goals was to study marine biology.  He is survived by his parents Reds and Deirdre, sisters Sanchia and Sinead, his girlfriend Kelly, and many loving friends.

 


Bohdan Vitenko and Jonathan Proce
These two boys, both age 21, died while doing a Navy SEAL training exercise. Jonathan Proce, of Sunnyside and Bohdan Vitenko were found unconscious in 3 feet of water in a Staten Island public pool on Wednesday July 13, 2011. The pair were doing breath-holding exercises similar to those used in military training, authorities said. Bohdan Vitenko died at the site of the incident, and Jonanthan Proce, who was a certified lifeguard, later died in the hospital after going into a coma.

 

Jacob Fowler
Jacob Fowler drowned June 27th, 2011  at the age of 22. Fowler was a counselor at Camp Kulaqua, where he was attempting to dive to the bottom of the lake. The lake is said to be 50 feet deep at some places. Fowler graduated from Riverview High School in 2006 and from the University of South Florida at age 20. He recently completed his second year of education at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton. Fowler is survived by his beloved wife, Diana, parents Bill and Patty Fowler, and his brothers, Matthew and Zachary.

 

Drew Brislen, Laguna Beach, CA.
Drew Brislen died on May 26th, 2011 at age 40, during a free diving accident at a popular dive spot in Laguna beach.  Drew played Volleyball and Water polo for Dana Hills High School and was an excellent Skier, Skeet Shooter, Surfer, Swimmer, and Scuba Diver.  Drew also loved to kayak, climb trees, and do anything that was fun and interesting.  He truly loved and lived life.  He had traveled all around the world and enjoyed learning about people and their cultures.  He loved his friends and his family, especially his two little girls, Sage and Addie.  Drew never stopped showing his love and dedication to his mother as she suffered for almost eight years from cancer.  Drew is survived by his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sage and Addie.

 

Gene Whitner Milner, III -Atlanta, GA (see Whitner’s story)

Gene Whitner Milner, III  died tragically from Shallow Water Blackout in the family swimming pool on April 17th, 2011.

Whitner graduated from the University of Georgia in 2009, where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity. In high school he was the lacrosse captain his senior year of at Woodward Academy. Working for his father at Milner, Inc. Whitner was a stong asset to the company. He spent his free time playing golf, hunting, fishing, skiing, and boating. Whitner’s enthusiasm about life energized all that were around him. Whitner is survived by his parents; his three siblings, Kathryn Lillian Milner, Cason Lanier Milner, and Helen Scott “Scottie” Milner, and his beloved girlfriend Laura Dobrofsky.

 

Clark Garrett, Houston Texas

Clark Garrett passed away on July 27, 2010. Clark was an athletic and energetic young man, and was also a very experienced swimmer. He was having a short workout before dinner one evening when his mother found that he had drowned of SWB in their family pool. Clark and his mother belonged to a Gem and Mineral Society and had a life long enjoyment of collecting gems, fossils, minerals and such. His mother has founded a mineral jewelry endeavor named Kryptonite Angel. She plans to sell jewelry made from natural elements as well as specimens for collectors, and donate proceeds to the prevention of shallow water blackout.

 

David Heiner, Cedar Brook Country Club, North Carolina

David Heiner died June 18, 2008, at the age of 19.  David was in critical condition after a near drowning accident at Cedarbrook Country Club in Charlotte, NC.  He passed away later in the Hospital.  David was a smart and passionate man, who took every opportunity to learn.  He was elected as a board member of the Political Science Honors Society at Utah State University.  David loved the mountains in Utah and was an avid skier and snowboarder.  He also enjoyed hiking and backpacking with his father and friends.  David is survived by his parents Mark David and Vickie Edgley Heiner, and three siblings, Rebecca, Daniel, and Nathan

 

Toby Blanck at Sierra Tucson Rehab. Toby Blanck, died March 18th, 2007 at age 33 in a drowning accident in Tucson, Arizona.  He was doing an under-water swim – an exercise where you swim under water for as long as possible.  It is practiced by almost all swimmers in order to increase lung capacity. Toby was trim, and fit; he exercised regularly and vigorously.  He loved the outdoors and backpacked often. Toby was posthumously awarded a Life Time Achievement award at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Co, on June 1st, 2007.

 

Clifford Nyquist, St. Paul School, Concord, NH

Clifford died November 7th, 2004 in a drowning accident at his schools private swimming pool. Clifford was a star athlete and a straight A student when his life was tragically cut short from Shallow Water Blackout at the age of 15.  Clifford drowned in 4 feet of water at the Concord private school’s brand new swimming pool.  Clifford was a sophomore at Saint Paul’s school in Concord, NH. Clifford is survived by his parents, Lee and Leslie Nyquist, and his two sisters, Christina and Carla.

                                                        

Audrey Mestre

Born: August 11th, 1974 Died: October 4th, 2002

Audrey was a French World Record setting Freediver. Born into a family of snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiast, Audrey was swimming by age 2 and already a seasoned scuba diver by age 13. In her teens, her family moved to Mexico City. She became fluent in spanish and went on to study Marine Biology at a university in La Paz, Mexico. After graduating she moved to Miami, FL where she met her future husband and fellow diving enthusiast, Francisco Ferreras. On October 4th, 2002 she blacked out and died while attempting to break the World Record at 171 meters. In 2002, she was inducted posthumously into the Women Divers Hall of Fame and in August 2004 a book that tells her story was written by her husband and published under the title The Dive: A Story of Love and Obsession.

 

Nic Fisher   (December 13, 1989 – December 28, 2001)

Nic was 12 years old when he lost his life. Three days after Christmas, he was in his backyard pool playing a breath-holding game with his cousins. His mother describes the accident: “We were sitting beside the pool at the time and he just didn’t surface after one of the ‘turns’…not a sound, in chest deep water….who would believe he was actually drowning.” She describes him as a fun-loving kid, full of mischief and very competitive in all the sports he played. He was a proficient swimmer and he had been water skiing since he was about 6 years old. He loved the water. He also played football, cricket touch football and he loved snow skiing. He is survived by an older brother and sister who loved to enjoy water sports with him as well.

Jay Moriarity (June 16, 1978 – June 15, 2001)

Jay Moriarity, a well known surfer from Santa Cruz, CA, died June 15, 2001 practicing breath holds in the Maldives, south of India. Jay was to turn 23 the next day. He was known for his fun spirit and love for the water. At the age of 16 Jay began surfing the Mavericks, a big wave break off of Half Moon Bay, CA. He first became famous when he was placed on the cover of Surfer Magazine for conquering a huge wipe out while surfing the Mavericks. Jay was sponsored by O’Neill and was doing a photo shoot for O’Neill at the time he passed away. A recent movie, Chasing Mavericks, was created in honor of Jay and his life. He was a one of a kind person and enjoyed life to its fullest. Jay is survived by his wife, Kim Moriarity. Kim has established the Jay Moriarity Foundation and puts on the Jay Race each June to raise money for the local Junior Guards and to honor her amazing husband.

Loren Maas, at Kailua Bay, Kona

Loren drowned July 24th, 2001 during a free diving accident in the waters north of Kailua Bay in Kona. Loren was 18 at the time. He and a friend had gone diving about 100 yards offshore.

Thomas J. Flood at Brunswick, GA, YWCA

Thomas J. Flood died May 25th, 2001 at age 24 in a drowning accident at the YWCA in Brunswick, GA. T.J. went to the YWCA to use the swimming pool.  T.J. was an experienced swimmer and a civilian employee of the United States Navy. He was using the pool to train for his upcoming course at the Navy’s Surface Rescue Swimmers School (SRS).

James Warnock

The 31-year-old son of champion Ted Warnock, drowned in a warm swimming pool, chest deep. Studying mariculture in Florida, James was excited to hear that the National Spearfishing Championships would be held in an area he knew well. A three-time North Atlantic Spearfishing Champion, James was eager to start training. He purchased a new stop watch and was practicing breath-hold diving in a medical-therapy pool. Rescuers saw James new watch fall from his hand as they pulled him from the water. Sadly, the attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Sarp Mustafa Kayan, at Maneo Recreation Center.

Sarp Kayan drowned March 26th, 1999 at the Maneo Recreation Center swimming pool. He told the life guards that he was training for competition. Sarp said he would be attempting to hold his breath for up to five minutes. The lifeguards weren’t paying attention and after 40-45 minutes they realized he hadn’t come up for air. They pulled him out of the water, his equipment indicated that he had been under water for 55 minutes. Their attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Tom Konow

Tom Konow, a member of the Danish apnea team, drowned February 2nd, 1999. The tragic incident happened in less than 5 feet of water when he was doing a breathe holding exercise.

Forest James Funk III, Lake Rabun
Forest James Funk III, age 17, died while swimming alone on July 13, 1962 at lake Rabun.  He was a wrestler and athlete at the Westminster School in Atlanta, Ga.  He also enjoyed scuba diving and he and his father had been interested in and used a spear gun and swam under the boat house at the lake.  The Jimmy Funk scholarship at Westminster is for the Westminster Junior superlative boy.  There is also a Wrestling award in his honor. They presumed that the death was from hyperventilating and breathe-holding