The show will air at 8 p.m. central time on March 19. It explores the disappearance of another diver at Vortex Spring in nearby Ponce De Leon.
Marianna resident Edd Sorenson, owner of the Cave Adventurers dive shop on Blue Springs, is the primary diver in this region for International Rescue and Recovery Team. He is a recognized expert around the world, and has explored deeper into many caves than others have previously dared, opening the path for others to follow.
After scuba diver Ben McDaniel was reported missing while apparently on a cave dive at Vortex Spring in August 2010, Sorenson was called in to search for him, along with many more of the best divers in the world. The mysterious disappearance has led to speculation that McDaniel may not be in the cave at all.
The “Disappeared” team interviewed Sorenson for three hours in preparation for the episode, and a portion of those talks will be included in the show.
Sorenson said he encountered McDaniel only once before that infamous dive, when he came into the shop to buy some gear on a different excursion. McDaniel took his open water side mount dive course from another instructor, Sorenson said, but had no cave training whatsoever as far as Sorenson knows. “He should never have been in a cave,” Sorenson said .
He said he has come to the conclusion that McDaniel isn’t in Vortex Spring.
“They asked me what I thought; I don’t think he’s in there,” Sorenson said. “I went six hours in a one-hour cave, and checked all the nooks and crannies. There’s no sign in the back of the cave, where he was supposed to be working, that he was ever there. In the back of the cave, the roof is covered by an orangey-brown bacterial growth, and if you even brush against it slightly, you’ll knock that off and you’ll have stark white limestone showing. I didn’t find that .
“ There are no gouge marks found (where they would have had been if he’d moved through a certain tight spot). Those are the kinds of things I told them, and I told the family that there’s no indication he was in there.”
Investigators have questioned the nature of McDaniel’s disappearance, and the episode explores some of those issues.
Sorenson didn’t speculate on what he thinks might be the truth behind McDaniel’s vanishing, but the episode features others who shed more information on the story. Several of McDaniel’s family members and Capt. Harry Hamilton of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office are among those interviewed.
In promoting the episode, Investigation Discovery representative Jordyn Linsk sent a press release with the following summary:
“After dealing with a failed business, a broken marriage, and the death of his brother, Ben McDaniel decides to start anew, so he moves from Tennessee to his parents’ condo in Florida. An avid scuba diver, McDaniel jumps at the opportunity to escape when he learns of a dive at a nearby spring. Vortex Spring has an underwater cave that is said to be very exciting, but also dangerous, and McDaniel prepares extensively. He goes on the dive August 18, 2010, and while witnesses see him enter the cave, no on ever sees him return. The police conduct extensive searches, but ultimately, police, rescue divers and McDaniel’s family are baffled, left questioning the nature of his disappearance.”
Source: Jackson County Floridan