Santa Rosa, N.M. — An eastern New Mexico police chief says an experienced California diver has died in an underwater cave beneath a swimming hole.

Santa Rosa Police Chief Jude Gallegos says the initial investigation suggests 43-year-old Shane Thompson’s death Saturday below the Blue Hole was an accidental drowning.

The Blue Hole is a deep blue swimming hole where an artesian spring pumps out 3,000 gallons of water per minute.

Gallegos says autopsy results aren’t yet available.

Gallegos says Thompson and another member of a dive group were about 160 feet below the surface when the incident happened.

Two divers who were training perished in the cave system in 1976 after getting separated from classmates. It took weeks to find one of the bodies.

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