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New rules for Eagles Nest cave taking effect this summer may have saved diver

Local expert cave divers are working with Florida Fish and Wildlife to make the location more restricted.

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. -- This week, the body of a missing diver was found in the Eagle's Nest cave just north of Weeki Wachee Springs.

That diver was 20-year-old Said Marjane. He was found at a depth of 150 feet.

Previous: Body of 20-year-old diver found at 150 feet in Eagles Nest cave

At least 11 people have been killed diving in the caves since 1981. Several people have also drowned.

After a tragic death of a father and son on Christmas night in 2013, Sylvester Muller, who has been diving for almost 30 years here, fought to get warning signs underwater.

Now, he and other expert cave divers are working with Florida Fish and Wildlife to make the location more restricted.

“There will be no diving at Eagles Nest unless you’re a certified cave diver and you have a permit to go there,” Muller said. “There will be swimming allowed but there will not be anything in between.”

You'll either be a swimmer or a fully certified cave diver with the proper certifications. Muller says these changes have been years in the making and will start being enforced around September.

It would take about 60 dives to become a certified cave diver with a permit and no one would be allowed to "free dive.”

“Most free divers will actually blackout at the surface, which is called shallow water blackout,” Muller said. “What happens is they will do the dive and as they come up within three feet of the surface, they will actually blackout.”

Expert cave divers say free diving even with a buddy is highly discouraged.

Muller calls Eagles Nest, the "Venus Fly Trap” because of how deep and how distracted divers can get once underwater.

He hopes new rules will prevent more deaths in the future.

From 1999 to 2003, there was a ban at Eagle Nest making it illegal to scuba dive. However, cave divers lobbied to have it reopened.

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