Sheriff: Bozeman man dies after incident while diving in Canyon Ferry Lake

Canyon Ferry Scuba Death
Posted at 3:23 PM, May 22, 2023

HELENA — Authorities say a 55-year-old man from Bozeman died at Canyon Ferry Lake over the weekend after an incident while scuba diving.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff-Coroner Leo Dutton identified the man as William Dreyer.

It happened just before noon on Saturday, about a mile south of Cemetery Island.

“The investigation has thus far revealed that two divers were from Bozeman, and they were trying to raise up a vehicle that had been lost through the ice last winter,” Dutton said. “They were applying airbags when an equipment malfunction occurred, draining the tank of the diver that's now deceased.”

Dutton said two divers were trying to use air bags to raise a vehicle that fell through the ice during the winter. He said the other diver reported Dreyer suffered an equipment malfunction, draining his air tank. The diver attached a rope and began pulling Dreyer up. They eventually brought him to the surface and attempted to perform CPR, but they were not able to resuscitate him.

Montana Highway Patrol and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were the first to respond to the call.

Dutton said the area where they were diving was one of the deeper locations in the lake. He said they were at a depth of about 113 feet, and that a person needs to be certified to dive to that level. This incident is still under investigation.

“There’s a lot to investigate: equipment malfunctions, those type of things – properly maintained,” said Dutton.

Dreyer’s official cause and manner of death will be reported after an autopsy, scheduled for Tuesday.

“Our sympathies go to the family in Bozeman,” Dutton said.