Scuba diver miraculously survives horror ride through nuclear plant intake pipe

How a Scuba Diver Survived Being Sucked Into Nuclear Power Plant Pipe
How a Scuba Diver Survived Being Sucked Into Nuclear Power Plant Pipe

A South Florida scuba diver was taken on a terrifying ride through a nuclear power plant's intake pipe that he feared would end in his watery death.

What started as a scuba and lobster-diving trip with family and friends became what felt like a ride to hell for Christopher Le Cun last summer when the 30-year-old swam up to what he says was an improperly marked intake pipe to a nuclear plant in Port St. Lucie.

For some five minutes back in July, Le Cun was pulled along at seven feet per second through a pitch black, barnacle-encrusted pipe with no idea what lay at the other end.

They were five minutes Le Cun said will forever be imprinted on his mind.

"We were looking for lobster when we came across a big structure," Le Cun, a Navy veteran who's been diving since age 12, told

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Le Cun and a friend put on their dive gear and left behind Le Cun's then-pregnant wife, two children and a friend's child.

As they investigated what he said looked like "three underwater buildings," Le Cun said the current began to pick up. He didn't think anything of it, at first.

"Then WHOA," he said. "Within a blink of an eye I'm in a washing machine, tumbling and trying to check my air, hold onto my regulator."

As the gravity of what was happening began to dawn on Le Cun, he said he feared the worse. As if in a horror film, he pictured a turbine waiting to chop him to bits at the end.

Le Cun said he even considered pulling the regulator out of his mouth and ending his own life before the invetable end came.

"But then I though, I got a family, youre gonna have to kill me. I'm thinking about my wife, who was pregnant with our third child at the time," he recalled.

Then, Le Cun said he saw what looked at first like a match in the distance.

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"The tiniest light you've ever seen," he said. And finally, "it spits me out. There are huge fish. It almost felt like you're in heaven."

Le Cun swam to the surface and discovered he was in a reservoir for sea water used to cool the nuclear reactors. A plant employee spotted him and couldn't believe his eyes.

"The staff couldn't believe it, they wanted to take pictures with me," he said.

Le Cun borrowed a phone and called his wife. "I'm alive," he told her, as she wept back with her children and friends.

Le Cun's friend, Robert Blake, told WPTV he saw his friend get sucked into the pipe and all but told the others that Le Cun was dead after watching him get sucked in "like a wet noodle."

Now Blake and Le Cun are arguing that there was no warning of the dangers at the intake pipe and that Florida Power and Light failed to properly mark the site.

Le Cun, who says he's still traumatized by the incident and still isn't comfortable scuba diving, is now suing the company.

Florida Power and LIght has declined to comment on the pending legislation but released this statement:

"Nothing is more important safety at our St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plants, which is a reason that we have a protective over the intake piping. The diver intentionally swam into one of the intake pipes after bypassing a piece of equipment to minimize the entry of objects."

Meanwhile, Le Cun says he's got an entirely new outlook on life as he spends all the precious time he can with his wife and children.

"I am absolutely lucky to be alive, I have whole new perspective on life," he said.

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