When the two reached the surface Gilnett was panicked and could not inflate her buoyancy compensator. Also she apparently could not release the weights from her weight belt. Southard told investigators he attempted to hang on to Gilnett and assist her. Because of rough water and windy conditions on Hood Canal, Southard was unable to retain his grip on Gilnett and they became separated.
Southard told investigators he yelled for help very soon after surfacing. Other divers in the area were able to respond and assist in locating Gilnett. She was located in about 20 ft of water and brought to the surface a short time later. The divers brought Ms. Gilnett to shore where she was treated by medics and subsequently transported to Mason General Hospital by ambulance. Later Gilnett was transferred to Harbor View Medical Center.
Sheriff’s investigators continue their investigation. According to Sergeant Brad Mandeville “this incident appears to be a tragic accident.”