Park Service diver recognized for valor on Lake Mead

WASHINGTON — Jessica Keller, a diver for the National Park Service, was given an award for valor this week after she was credited with saving the life of her dive partner during a 2012 mishap at Lake Mead.

Keller, who is with the Denver-based National Park Service Submerged Resources Center, was in the lake on Nov. 4, 2012, preparing for an underwater film shoot when her partner Dave Conlin suffered equipment failure that left him without oxygen and unconscious at a depth of 120 feet.

She rapidly ascended with him to 70 feet where she inflated his buoyancy device to get him to the surface.

“If not for her skilled, purposeful and quick response to the accident, her partner would have died,” the Park Service said.

Keller was recognized at a ceremony Thursday at the Department of Interior. At an honors ceremony, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell handed out awards to 17 Park Service employees and three private citizens for bravery.