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Okay, this isn't a legitimate question, but I was listening to the Criminal podcast yesterday and I thought I'd share the story of LAPD dive supervisor, Sgt. David Mascarenas. It is pretty intense.



Here's the link to the podcast.
Episode 33: Deep Dive (12.18.2015) | Criminal

And an article from Alertdiver.com, if you'd rather read about it.
Alert Diver | Dark Waters

Sgt. David Mascarenas was stewing in his own sweat inside a Whites hazmat drysuit. It was a sunny day in Southern California in June 2013, but it wasn't just the heat that was bothering him. Mascarenas, dive supervisor of the Underwater Dive Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), was about to lower himself into one of the most dangerous and unusual criminal evidence scenes ever entered by a police diver: the La Brea Tar Pits.

The tar pits were a bubbling cesspool of primordial ooze and a death trap for creatures such as wooly mammoths and saber-toothed cats; they had even held the 9,000-year-old skeletal remains of a human. Today they are a popular tourist attraction on the midtown stretch of Los Angeles' famous Wilshire Boulevard but also, the cops believed, the possible location of a modern-day murder weapon and other critical evidence in a high-profile case.

Mascarenas has an adventurous spirit. He was born in the backseat of his father's car as it sped down Hollywood Freeway toward the hospital. He had been a soldier in the Army and had done just about every job in the LAPD from the gang unit to bike patrol. But diving into the quicksand clutches of viscous green sludge and methane gas that killed creatures 20 times his size? That was madness, and he knew it before he took the plunge.

"I thought I wasn't going to make it — that I would get stuck and they wouldn't be able to pull me out," Mascarenas said. "I actually got so stuck twice that they did have to pull me out. They had to pull so hard that I thought my ribs were breaking." The gas was even more dangerous than the sludge. "I had my ambient air valve open, and the methane got in," he continued. "I had to immediately close it because I became light headed and nauseous."

But he also knew he couldn't quit. If he succeeded he might help get a murderer off the streets.

For two weeks he and his colleagues had planned and prepared for this moment, but most of that was turned upside down when he entered the water. His planned seven-minute dive became a 77-minute dive, and he descended to more than double the 8-foot maximum depth; his depth gauge failed at 17 feet.

Back at the tar pits, gathered along with the LAPD's Underwater Dive Unit were members of the LA Fire Department, LA Port Police and Long Beach Police as well as geological scientists, diving experts and even representatives from equipment manufacturers.

"I asked all the experts on site if it would be possible to actually dive the tar pits," Mascarenas said, "but all said no, the equipment would not work because of the chemicals, contamination, gasses, temperature, etc. The tar pits emit methane bubbles, which are toxic and flammable. We couldn't use a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), as each articulation emits a small spark, which could cause an explosion."

Mascarenas had asked divers from the other agencies and even two of his own team members if they wanted to do the dive. They all declined, so he knew he'd have to go in himself to retrieve possibly crucial evidence in the case.

He geared up in a drysuit, hood, gloves and full-face mask with hard-wired diver-to-surface communications. He would be breathing surface-supplied air, but he also carried his own gas supply, and he was secured with a rope tether in case he got stuck. When he finally submerged near his target search area, he was surprised by the texture and warmth of the liquid.

"It was the weirdest consistency I can describe, kind of like pudding — some spots you would touch and instantly get stuck, others you could pat your way through it," Mascarenas said. "There was no visibility, just a green hue. I could make out a shadow if I passed my hand slowly by my mask."

He discovered the pits weren't of a single consistency but rather layers of tar with pockets of water between them. There were also columns of methane gas stretching to the surface. He could fin his way slowly through the water layers, but when he touched a column of methane it would burst, covering his gear and mask with tar.

Despite the obstacles he began searching the area with his hands, finally finding something hard in the goo. Then he found another item. They felt like what the detectives had told him to look for (because the case isn't closed the LAPD won't disclose specifically what he found).

"I told the surface team I was bringing some things up, and they had evidence containers ready to receive them," Mascarenas said. "I was elated. It was like accomplishing something no one else ever has."

And he was right. While the case is not officially closed, law enforcement officials have suspects in custody. With the evidence that Mascarenas recovered from the tar pits, there's now a better chance for a conviction and justice being served — from the depths of one of the most formidable liquid environments on the planet.


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Apple watch. And I'd do a selfie while submerged.
 
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I was at the tar pits this summer.... Man I wouldn't want to touch a toe in there
Incredible!


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Casio Mudman (or Mudmaster)

Won't risk a nice auto in there!!

S.
 

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No clue about a watch.....but THAT is genuinely impressive! Serious courage :)
 

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Great story. Thanks!
 
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