Chilling Tale of Augusta Quarry’s Depths: The Tragic Dive of Corey Berggren

Chilling Tale of Augusta Quarry’s Depths: The Tragic Dive of Corey Berggren
Incident LocationDiver Full Name
Augusta Quarry, Fort Dickerson, TennesseeCorey Berggren

In the serene beauty of Augusta Quarry, located in Fort Dickerson, Tennessee, lies a hidden danger. This picturesque location, with its deep waters and towering cliffs, has become a magnet for thrill-seekers. However, the consequences of leaping from these heights are severe, often resulting in broken bones and drowning. Welcome to the gripping horror of the Augusta Quarry.

A History of Tragedy:

For decades, swimmers have been drawn to the Quarry, defying city warnings against this risky behavior. Despite efforts to discourage cliff jumping, accidents persist. In 2015, signs and temporary fencing were erected after three fatal incidents in just four weeks. The Knox County Rescue Squad is tasked with responding to these tragedies, often searching for bodies beneath the Quarry’s depths.

The Tragic Story of Corey Berggren:

One tragic incident stands out in the Quarry’s history. On April 2, 1955, Corey Berggren, a remarkable individual known for his love of dance, diving, and life, met his untimely end. Corey was a highly skilled diver, holding numerous certifications and contributing to the diving community with his computer software. He was also a member of the Knoxville volunteer emergency rescue squad’s water rescue team.

The Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad:

The Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, founded over 50 years ago, plays a critical role in the community. Initially formed after a drowning incident, the squad has grown into an organization with diverse specialized teams, including cave and water rescue. They serve tirelessly, saving lives free of charge, and have earned national recognition for their efforts.

The Quarry’s History:

Augusta Quarry, once an active limestone excavation site, transitioned into a 300-foot deep lake as water pumping ceased. Over time, it became a dumping ground for cars and other undesired items. Despite attempts to curb dumping, the Quarry still attracts visitors, particularly during summer, when some daredevils jump from its cliffs.

Danger and Drinking Culture:

The Quarry’s reputation extends beyond diving, as it became a drinking spot in the 1980s. Most diving accidents involve intoxicated individuals jumping from perilous heights. Divers risk severe injuries or death due to the Quarry’s extreme depth, reaching up to 300 feet, with no lifeguard on duty.

The Knox County’s Warning:

The city of Knoxville strongly discourages swimming and diving in the Quarry, as evidenced by warning signs posted along the cliffs. While few individuals dive the site with proper diving gear, the dangers persist. A full-size crane sits at 211 feet underwater, largely unexplored by divers.

Corey’s Fateful Dive:

On August 24, 1995, the Knoxville volunteer rescue squad received a distress call about Aaron, who had gone missing after jumping into the Quarry. During the subsequent recovery operation, Corey opted to dive with nitrox, a mistake given the Quarry’s depth. Nitrox is not suitable for deep dives due to its oxygen content, leading to dangerous levels at extreme depths.

A Fatal Mistake:

During the dive, Corey experienced oxygen convulsions at a depth of 212 feet due to toxic nitrox levels. This triggered a seizure and asphyxiation, forcing him uncontrollably toward the surface. Standby divers managed to recover Corey’s lifeless body. Tragically, he suffered a heart attack during decompression treatment and passed away.

Corey’s Legacy:

Corey Berggren’s passing had a profound impact on the community, with more than 40 rescue agencies attending his funeral. A commemorative plaque stands in his honor at the rescue squad’s front room, a reminder of his sacrifice.

A Solemn Remembrance:

On August 25, 2020, the squad gathered at Augusta Quarry to remember Corey’s sacrifice. They placed a wreath on the water’s surface, reflecting on his legacy and the dedication of the volunteer organization.

A Changing Quarry:

Today, Augusta Quarry is undergoing transformation into a public recreation site, with phases including a boardwalk, kiosk, and restrooms. However, the battle against cliff jumpers continues, with fatalities still occurring.

The depths of Augusta Quarry hold beauty and peril in equal measure. Despite warnings and tragedies, some still risk their lives for thrills in this stunning but treacherous setting.

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How deep is Augusta Quarry?

Augusta Quarry reaches depths of up to 300 feet.

Who was Corey Berggren?

Corey Berggren was a skilled diver and rescue squad member.

Are there warnings against diving?

Yes, the city warns against diving due to serious dangers

Rebecca Penrose
Rebecca, an experienced blogger, delves into the world of diving accidents, sharing insights, stories, and valuable lessons learned. Dive in and explore the depths of underwater safety.
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