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Brave Members Of Alameda Dive Team Search For Victims In The Darkest Depths Of The San Francisco Bay

ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) -- We hear tales about heroic rescues every day, but when it comes to saving people underwater, that is quite a different story.

KPIX 5 met a team of volunteer divers and got a rare look at what it takes to find people lost in the dark murky waters of the San Francisco Bay.

They are known as the Alameda County Dive Team. These brave volunteers come from all walks of life. One of them spends his days working as a dentist, another owns a fast-food franchise. When they are together here, they are part of an amazing team.

Diver Dave McMurdie says if they didn't function as a team, it would be especially dangerous.

"We are diving in black water, there's zero visibility," he said.

Many or their calls come from crime scene investigators.

"When someone drowns there is always a question if the victim was homicide, suicide or an accident. It's important to family to get closure, to bring their loved one home," said McMurdie.

Two years ago, a man fell to his death in a water filled rock quarry in Oakland while looking for his pet cat. Diver Mike Whitehurst said he will never forget finding his body.

"You know you find another human being," said Whitehurst. "I held tightly, wasn't going to let him go… I was going to bring him home."

The team was involved in the high-profile search for the body of Laci Peterson, in the depths of the Berkeley Marina. Peterson was pregnant at the time she went missing. After the deadly rampage at Oikos Univeristy, the team was called to search the Oakland estuary for the semi-automatic handgun the shooter used to massacre 7 people.

In the event they find a body, the divers have to stay with it. That is a difficult moment, especially in black out conditions.

"A lot of things run through your head," said Whitehurst.

Still, Whitehurst and the other divers say they continue to go back down, time and again, no matter how hard it is.

"We do it because we love diving and we want to give something back to the community. Its important"

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