Jared Hires Dies at Plura Cave

Jared Hires Dies at Plura Cave

Posted in:

News has broken overnight that the 33-year-old diving industry stalwart, and Dive Rite's General Manager lost consciousness at Plura Cave on Wednesday 3 April 2024.

Jared Hires, Lamar Hires, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, XRay Mag, X-Ray Magazine
"Diving is everything to me. It is my livelihood and how I support my family, but it is also my escape and happy place" Jared Hires

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK ( first reported the diving incident:

An American citizen has been confirmed dead after a diving accident in the Plura Cave in Rana. Although a defibrillator was used after a short time, his life was not saved.

The following is a first-hand statement given to me by one of the divers involved with the fatal dive. They spoke to me on the evening of 4 April 2023. 

A team of three divers entered Plura. The first diver, along with Jared Hires, had previously dived Plura in 2022, so they took position one and three respectively. The middle diver had not dived Plura, hence this dive team formation effectively 'protected them'. The 30-minute inward swim went well, with no issue, and the three divers surfaced in an giant air chamber known as the 'Wedding Chamber'. After a chat, the team turned to swim back out of Plura, again in the same formation. Jared Hires was diver three.

Diver one (who does not wish to be named) told me "we were probably 250mt / ¬ 800ft from the surface when Jared's light just went erratic. I turned and was with him in 10 - 15 seconds max. He was actively seizing. Diver two headed out to alert the surface to get help, and I swam Jared out of the cave."

The Police in Norland received a report of the incident just before 4pm. "Medics worked with the man for an hour before he was pronounced dead at the scene." 

Jared Hires was part of a team of nine very experienced international divers.  

Jared Hires diving in the Florida Springs

I must commend fellow divers and other personnel on site for their efforts. Unfortunately, his life was not to be saved. Alf Ulrik Stenberg Rokstad, Police Chief Officer

Jared Hires told Diver Magazine "growing up in a diving family had its perks. From a young age I always had the newest gear".

Jared Hires was well-liked and well-known around the World. The news of his passing has shattered everyone. At the time of writing, this very few formal tributes have been made.  

A dedicated passionate diver and a man of honour. Rosemary E Lunn 

Colleagues and friends in the know have remarked on social media "There are simply no words to express the emotions that this news stirs up." Another said they were "shattered". A third wrote "We have seen the loss of a big player in the cave diving community. Rest in peace diver, colleague and friend." And "This was terrible, feel bad for the family".  

Jared Hires was a popular member of the cave diving community, a cherished husband and son, and a good friend to many. He was highly respected globally. 

A Rich Diving Heritage

Jared Hires was born into a family with a rich diving heritage - the prominent global brand, Dive Rite. His parents are Lamar and Lee Ann Hires.



Forty years ago, on 14 March 1984, Lamar Hires co-founded Dive Rite with Mark Leonard. 

At the time the internet didn't exist and you couldn't just walk into a dive centre and buy technical diving equipment. Instead, you had to make it or ask a friend who could. This changed when Dive Rite, a small family business based in North Florida's cave country, began manufacturing exploration-grade dive equipment. 

Four decades later, and one of the secrets of Dive Rite's success is that the prototype equipment is extensively field-tested, developed and refined by being actively cave dived, or used on expeditions. As a result, the robust equipment consistently performs. 

Diving didn’t necessarily change my life, but it is my life. Jared Hires

Jared's Name

Jared Hires and Vikki Batten at Ginnie Springs. The image was taken by Karl Shreeves to be used in PADI training materials. 

Jared's name was inspired by another remarkable diver. Jarrod Jablonski. When Lee Ann Hires was pregnant, Jarrod was working at Ginnie Springs. Lee Ann had heard and liked the name. One day, she stopped by the dive site to ask Jarrod if it was ok for her to give her unborn child the same name. Jarrod immediately agreed, and then remarked at just how often his name was misspelt, and suggested 'Jared'. 

It was no surprise that Jared took his first breaths underwater before he could even swim. He spent his childhood exploring the depths alongside his father, Lamar, sharing adventures and learning from the pioneers of diving. From breathing off his father's long hose at the tender age of five to becoming the youngest certified rebreather diver at 15, Jared's life was a testament to his unwavering dedication to diving.

Looking back on it now, really the coolest part was being around so many divers all the time. I was able to see how awesome this community was at a very young age. Jared Hires

After graduating from the University of Florida, Jared Hires returned to his roots, contributing significantly to the family business in various capacities. He ultimately steered the marketing department and served as the General Manager at Dive Rite. His work was driven by a desire to share his love for diving with others, fostering a community where adventure and passion thrived.

Highly Supportive

The author building a display in the 'New Product Showcase' at the November 2014 DEMA Show. Dive Rite launched the LX20 at this event. 

I had the pleasure of working with Jared Hires and Dive Rite for several years, and it's always been a two-way relationship. We are both highly supportive of each other - never just mere lip service. 

When I organised EUROTEK and Rebreather Forum 3, (and ultimately took EUROTEK to the States in the form of TEKDiveUSA), I could always pick up the phone and call Jared Hires for help. Be it financial, something lovely for the delegate goodie bag, a raffle prize, assistance with publicity, advice or a sounding board, I knew Jared Hires had my back. 

Dive Rite personally assisted my diving, I was sponsored with equipment and dived the Floridian caves with both Jared and Lamar. 

Over the years, Jared and the Hires family have welcomed me into their homes, and I've shared meals with them across the world. I have forgotten just how many times Jared has either dropped me off or picked me up at Jacksonville Airport.  

This generosity was not just extended to me. I observed Jared Hires and Dive Rite pay it forward, time after time over the years. 

Active Proud Diver

My go-to dive buddy is still my dad. We have travelled all over the world diving together, creating some awesome memories. Jared Hires

Lamar Hires (left) and Jared Hires (right) regularly dived together. 

Jared Hires was an active diver, who looked beyond the Florida caves. The Plura expedition wasn't Jared's first dive trip outside of the USA. His passion led him to explore some of the most challenging and beautiful underwater terrains around the world. From the Silfra fissure in Iceland, to Russian and Mexican caves via the serene fjords of Norway and the vibrant waters of the Red Sea. 

He loved this sport, the people, the industry— he was so proud to be a part of it. Taylor Hires

Jared Hires also showed his commitment to the diving community by serving as a technical, CCR, and cavern instructor through TDI / SDI. In 2020, he said his proudest diving achievement to date was becoming an Open Water Instructor. "It was a big deal for me at 18 because it was one of the first diving certs I did without any help from my dad. I went through a traditional IDC as any other person would do. My Course Director and ITs didn’t hold back because they knew I would be under some scrutiny." 

Jared Hires was keen to attract new young divers to the sport for it to survive and grow. "No one wants to become part of a sport dominated by grumpy old men". 

Family Man

From left to right: Lamar Hires, Lee Ann Hires, Taylor Hires, Jared Hires at EUROTEK.2016

Jared's life outside of diving was filled with joy and adventure. He enjoyed riding motorcycles, spending time on the river, and cheering for the University of Florida football team. However, it was clear to all who knew Jared that his priority was his family, he was devoted to his wife, children and parents. 

“What can you say when words are not enough to express the grief, sorrow and sadness at this terrible loss? Jared was such a sweet and loving husband, father and son. Our hearts go out to Taylor, Lee Ann, Lamar, and the children. we will do whatever we can to help them in their time of need”. David Concannon, diving industry attorney

In 2014, Jared married his teenage sweetheart, Taylor, and they have two very young children aged almost five and just turned three. The couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on 8 March. 

"Jared's pride in his beautiful family and his utter adoration of you all shone through his every facial expression and gesture. His children can be proud of their father - to meet Jared was to immediately admire and respect him". Nelly Mikhaiel Williams, cave diver

Jared Hires leaves behind his family and a worldwide community of friends and divers who were touched by his enthusiasm, kindness, and pioneering spirit. We shall remember his passion, and deep love for adventure and the underwater world. 

Final Words

Rest in peace, Jared. Your legacy will forever inspire us to explore, dream, and discover. Joel Silverstein, Tech Diving Limited

In closing, I leave the final words to Jared Hires. "Follow your dreams and don’t let negative people hold you back. Doing big dives takes practice and proficiency. Find a good mentor who will help you get there“. 


Other articles and news about Dive Rite