Kingston dentist dies after scuba diving in English Channel; colleague recalls him as ‘caring to his patients … caring to the community’

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> A partner in the Pine Street Dental practice died after scuba diving at a World War II plane wreck site in the English Channel, British authorities and another member of the practice said Wednesday.

Bruce W. Hottum, 63, a dentist who lived in the Hurley hamlet of Glenford, died last Friday, according to the coroner’s office in Kent, England.

Pine Street Dental partner Charles Fliegler confirmed Hottum’s death to the Freeman Wednesday. The practice also posted about it on Facebook.

“He was an expert in his field who treated his patients with the highest level of care and comfort,” the post said. “He will be sorely missed here….”


The United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it was contacted Friday afternoon by a dive boat 10 miles east of Ramsgate reporting a diver needing medical aid. A helicopter was dispatched to the boat, and Hottum was flown to a hospital. Police in Kent, on England’s southeast coast, said Hottum was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Neither police nor the Kent coroner’s office provided a possible cause of death. Fliegler said Hottum’s family flew to England to retrieve his remains and was awaiting autopsy results.

Fliegler said Hottum was expected back at the practice this past Monday and that family and friends learned of his death over the weekend. He said he was not aware of any underlying medical conditions that might have contributed.

Fliegler said Hottum went to England two weeks ago after receiving a call from the group Project Recover asking if he wanted to explore a World War II plane wreck site in the English Channel that could contain human remains.

“He came up on the last dive, didn’t feel well and collapsed,” Fliegler said.

Hottum had been with Pine Street Dental, at 138 Pine St. in Kingston, for 31 years, Fliegler said. He is survived by his wife, Peggy, and their three adult sons Jack,…

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