Diver’s Body Recovery Provides Closure

The body of missing diver Dirk Kann, of Guttenberg, Iowa, was recovered last weekend almost 13 years after his death in 1999.

Kann was found by a group of divers on Saturday, Aug. 18, who were out diving the Lakeland shipwreck in Whitefish Bay. They were approximately 200 feet below the surface when they found the body, which was later identified in Green Bay.

“It’s kind of gruesome, but on the other hand, you’re happy that it’s resolved,” said Greg Such, owner of Shipwreck Adventures LLC and one of the divers that recovered Kann’s body.

The day Kann went missing, he had been diving the Lakeland shipwreck with another experienced diver, according to Dick Void, who remained on the boat while Kann and the other diver were under water.

“There was nothing particular that went wrong with the dive, they were just on the way up and all of a sudden he dropped his mouthpiece and went unconscious,” Void said.

The man diving with Kann tried to hold on to him and bring him to the surface but lost hold over the time it took to decompress – or allow blood to adjust to changing pressure.

Void guesses that Kann had a heart attack under water, but the Door County sheriff has not released autopsy results.

“Apparently that’s what happened because there just wasn’t anything else about the dive that was abnormal,” Void said.

The divers had some equipment trouble, but Void said it was nothing out of the ordinary for a deep dive. Kann and the other diver were experienced, and apparently handled the trouble easily.

“That’s not to say that a situation like that may have created a little mental pressure,” Void said. “Who knows what ticks off a heart attack.”

The depth at which Kann’s body was found, about 200 feet, played a role in the length of time his body had been missing.

“We had known he was missing,” said Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel. “We’ve made numerous attempts throughout the years to recover him.”

On Saturday, Such and the other divers in the party floated Kann’s body up to the surface and called the Coast Guard.

“I hope the family’s happy, that they wanted him back,” Such said. “They have some closure. I wouldn’t want to be left out there if it was me.”