Posted at: 11/23/2012 8:44 PM
Updated at: 11/23/2012 10:10 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Nina Poppelsdorf loved to scuba dive, but on her latest trip to the ocean over the Thanksgiving week had a tragic ending. Her diving boat with 23 other passengers flipped after a large wave hit the boat. She died underneath the boat.
Stacey Minton owns the New Mexico Scuba Center in Albuquerque and went on hundreds of dives with Poppelsdorf over eight years. When she heard the news Thanksgiving Day about her friend dying, it devastated her.
"Almost like a bad dream, you know that she's out diving, and then the next thing you hear is that she's deceased," Minton said.
Poppelsdorf not only dove with Minton, but played a major role educating scuba students for years, too.
"She was one of my instructors on my instructional staff. She had patience and all the students loved her and we're going to miss her," she said.
Poppelsdorf was a leader away from scuba diving, too.
She was a senior manager at Sandia National Laboratories for the radiation protection, industrial hygiene and safety center.
But Minton said when her friend went to the scuba shop or into the water, her demeanor changed.
"She's relaxed. When she's diving, that is her passion," Minton said.
She explained more about Poppelsdorf’s love for the water.
"Different world. It's the peace. It's the quiet. It's the critters. Just being in a different environment," she said.
And Minton expressed how important the water would be to her after losing a close friend.
"No matter how crappy your day is, sometimes just going down to the bottom of the pool and blowing some bubbles just makes it better," she said.
An autopsy was ordered for Poppelsdorf on Friday and an investigation is still ongoing about how the accident happened that led to her death.