FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — One of the divers who was rescued from the Fresno State water tower on Wednesday has died, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
The man has been identified as Jason Peters, 27 of Palm Coast, Florida.
Peters was part of a crew of three divers who were rescued from the water tower after the Fresno Fire Department said one of them had became unresponsive from heat exaustion.
The divers were taking part in a regular inspection and cleaning of the tower, which was too tall for the Fresno Fire Department’s ladder. The height forced crews to use a rope system to get the inspectors down.
“Very difficult,” said Fresno Firefighter Mike Gilbert. “This is probably one of the most technical operations that we do. We had to put the patient on the board. Connect it to the lowering system and then drop them down to the basket.”
The water tank serves as a 150,000-gallon reserve for the University’s potable drinking water system. The inspectors were employees of LiquiVision Technology, a diving company based out of Oregon and contracted by Fresno State.
This year, the blazing sun and high temperatures took a toll on the workers.
“The extended work period, the strenuous workday, and with the work, they were doing up there in the heat and the high humidity,” said Gilbert. “It just overcame them.”
All three divers had to be lowered to the ladder by the fire department’s ropes due to heat exhaustion. One was given CPR and rushed to the hospital by ambulance for cardiac arrest.
We reached out to LiquiVision Technology but the company would not comment.
Fresno State had issued a statement after the rescue on Wednesday and said its thoughts were the diver who was rescued.