Diver reflects on experiences in Niagara River


AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Helen Domske looks at an underwater animal she caught off the shores of one of the Great Lakes she was diving in.  The veteran diver has spent more than 25 years below the water’s surface, going on hundreds of dives in waters around the world including the Niagara River.

“It’s a very treacherous stretch of the river,” said Domske. “You have the flow of Lake Erie so it has this incredible speed and power. And secondarily, you have a lot of underwater terrain.”

Domske says she’s never been in a dangerous situation in the river but thinks the water is very intense.

“When you’re in that current, you really have to worry about how far along you’re going and if you’re going to run into things.”

The longtime diver says the issue is – you can’t really see when you’re diving there as the visibility is very poor.

“It’s not unusual to stick out your hand an barely be able to see it,” said Domske. “So I cannot imagine what it’s like for the searchers to go into that environment.”

Domske says she won’t be going back into that stretch of water but understands that those who are part of rescue teams, don’t have that choice and that’s why they train there. It broke her heart hearing, though, about what happened to Officer Craig Lehner and knowing he died doing something he cared about so much.

“Those men are really heroes – that they’re willing to risk their lives in treacherous areas to save people.”

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