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Safety Lapse Suspected in Scientist's Diving Death

February 18, 1999| Associated Press

WAKULLA SPRINGS, Fla. — Henry W. Kendall, a winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics, may have lost his life during a scuba diving trip because he skipped some basic safety procedures, a dive team doctor said.

Kendall died Monday while taking pictures in about eight to 10 feet of water at Wakulla Springs State Park.

Dr. Noel Sloan said the 72-year-old physics professor did not wait for his diving companion before entering the water and failed to conduct a required two-minute pre-dive check that could have revealed an incorrectly positioned valve that could cut off Kendall's oxygen supply and cause him to black out.

A preliminary autopsy Tuesday ruled out drowning as the reason for Kendall's death.

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