The Body of a SCUBA Diver is Found on the Scene of a Forest FireFiction!


Summary of eRumor: 

On the scene of a forest fire in Southern California, fire officials discover the body of a man who was wearing a wet suit and complete SCUBA diving gear.  An autopsy shows that the diver was not killed by fire, but by massive internal injuries.  After puzzling for a while, the authorities realize that the diver was swimming off the coast in an area where water-dropping helicopters were getting their water…and the diver accidentally got collected along with the water and dropped on the fire.

The Truth:

This is a time-honored urban legend.  There is no evidence that this ever took place.

There is no “California Examiner” article.

Some versions say it was a “super-scooper” airplane that sucked in the diver while making a high-speed pass over the waves to collect water for the fire.

updated 07/06/07

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Subject: On Having a Bad Day

Supposed to be a true story!

THE NEXT TIME YOU THINK YOU ARE HAVING A BAD DAY: Fire authorities in California found a corpse in a burned out section of forest while assessing the damage done by a forest fire.

The deceased male was dressed in a full wet suit, complete with SCUBA tanks on his back, flippers, and face mask.

A post-mortem revealed that the person died not from burns, but from massive internal injuries.

Dental records provided a positive identification. Investigators then set about to determine how a fully clad diver ended up in the middle of a forest fire.

It was revealed that, on the day of the fire, the person went for a diving trip off the coast some 20 miles away from the forest. The firefighters, seeking to control the fire as quickly as possible, called in a fleet of helicopters with very large dip buckets. Water was dipped from the ocean then flown to the forest fire and emptied. You guessed it.

One minute our diver was making like Flipper in the Pacific, the next he was doing the breast stroke in a fire dip bucket 300 feet in the air. Apparently he extinguished exactly 5′-10″ of the fire. Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed! This article was taken from the California Examiner, March 20, 1998