Storm made sunken carrier a riskier dive

Nov. 28, 2008 at 1:48 PM

PENSACOLA, Fla., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The scuba-diving industry in Florida says the wreck of the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was pushed into deeper water by Hurricane Gustav.

The flight deck of the carrier is now 10 feet deeper than it was before the storm, but experts say that at 145 feet below the surface, it is pushing safety limits.

"That extra 10 feet made a huge difference," Jim Phillips, owner of MBT Divers, told the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal.

The Oriskany was scuttled in 2006 to serve as an artificial reef and diving site, and has become a magnet for visitors who now face an increased danger of nitrogen narcosis. The newspaper said Friday that dive instructors still consider the Oriskany to be a viable dive, although visitors should receive some refresher training before making the descent.

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