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Buffalo Grove teen dies in scuba incident
By Joel Ebert | Daily Herald Staff

Kenneth G. Uhl

 

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Published: 10/4/2010 12:44 PM | Updated: 10/4/2010 8:29 PM

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The investigation into why a 16-year-old Buffalo Grove boy died while scuba diving Saturday near Kankakee did not yield many answers Monday.

Kenneth G. Uhl, a certified scuba diver, died Saturday while diving with fellow Boy Scouts at the Haigh Quarry, a diving site near Kankakee with depths ranging from 25 to 85 feet.

Kankakee County Coroner Robert Gessner said Uhl was discovered missing from his group when he did not surface on his third dive. He had had two previously successful dives, Gessner said.

The Kankakee County sheriff's office said deputies got to the quarry around 1:15 p.m. Saturday after getting a call that Uhl could not be found. A local fire department also responded, and divers went into the water where they found Uhl, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Uhl was pronounced dead about 3 p.m. Saturday at Provena St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee.

Uhl was a junior at Buffalo Grove High School, where he was an excellent student who also was involved in several academic extracurricular activities, school officials said Monday.

"Ken was really a viable and contributing young person to our school," school Principal Carol Burlinski said. "I think that whenever a young person is taken from us suddenly, someone that has their life and dreams planned out, it really puts the value of our lives in perspective."

The teenager was enrolled in four Advanced Placement courses and was a member of the scholastic bowl team and math team.

Uhl had no significant medical history, Gessner said, and there was no immediate indication of a problem with the teen's scuba gear.

An autopsy was conducted Monday, but results were not immediately available.

There is no indication of any criminal activity, according to Kankakee County sheriff's spokesman Ken McCabe.

Stephen Taylor, executive director of the Northwest Suburban Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said three or four Venturers high school-aged Boy Scouts and two adult leaders from Venture Crew 188 were at the quarry. Everyone in the crew was a certified scuba diver, he said. Uhl was a longtime member of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Adventuring.

Although the Crew followed official protocol, Taylor said there will be a review of the guidelines and other questions raised by the tragedy.

"While we are still gathering information about what happened, we constantly review our policies and guidelines," he said.

"This is a very difficult day for our entire Scouting family," Taylor added, saying the council is working with the family to help in any way it can.

The owner of Haigh Quarry declined to comment Monday.