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Diver sucked into nuclear power plant

June 8, 1989

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A scuba diver who got sucked into a pipe and was carried more than a quarter-mile into a cooling pond at a nuclear power plant says he has had nightmares about it.

'It was devastating.

Every time I tried to fall asleep that night, I saw it and felt it all over again,' said William Lamm, 45, who was sucked Monday into the intake pipe opening in eight feet of water off the Florida Power & Light Co. nuclear plant at Hutchinson Island.

Lamm was carried through 1,600 feet of pipeline and depositied in the plant's cooling pond.

'I thought I was dead,' Lamm said. 'It was darker than any dark I have ever seen. I tumbled and bounced all over the sides of the pipe.'

Power company spokesman Gary Mehalik said the 16-foot pipe has a concrete cap suspended near the ocean opening to cut down on the suction and prevent fish from being sucked in as well as divers, but Lamm said it obviously does not work.

Mehalik said there also is a buoy nearby marking the pipe. Lamm said he saw it but didn't know what it meant.

After Lamm was dumped into the cooling pond, he was pulled out by security guards. He declined offers to have doctors examine him.

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