Death at Terrigal - NSW, Australia

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by DandyDon, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    From Diver dies on NSW Central Coast
     
  2. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney
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    A lot of what is currently being reported in the media about this diver death at Terrigal is incorrect.
    Returning from a dive on the EX HMAS Adelaide, our dive boat (Pro Dive Central Coast) was advised of a diver in distress.
    The divers on board proceeded to the distressed diver and took action to rescue him and commence CPR
    It took only 6 minutes from the time we were notified of a diver in distress to the time we had him in our boat commencing CPR.
    The surf life saving boat arrived shortly after CPR was started and the diver was transferred to their boat as it could get him to shore more quickly.
    On the Pro Dive boat was an instructor, dive master, Navy clearance diver, rescue diver and a trained nurse.
    The diver was close to rocks floating on his back when located and 2 divers entered to retrieve him at great risk to themselves in rough choppy water close to the rocks.
    Divers setup was tech style harness BCD with twin mounted tanks. Diver had a manifold system but used only one Octopus. Diver used a dry suit.
    No air was charged in the line when removed from the dry suit. BCD could not be inflated with the inflater hose buttons. Air bubbles were coming from around the first stage where it was connected to the manifold. The divers buddy advised he had communicated with the deceased diver on the surface before returning to shore. It is not know at this stage what caused the diver to get into difficulty.
     
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  3. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
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    Sad story indeed. Prayers for the family.
     
  4. sydney-diver

    sydney-diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
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    How distressing. So you're saying the diver had manifold twins but only a single regulator?
     
  5. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney
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    No. He had a single octopus (ocy). 1 x first stage, 1 x primary regulator, 1 x backup regulator 1 x SPG line 1 x inflater hose line 1 x line to dry suit.
    From what I saw the twin tank manifold was of the type that uses one ocy set only.
    have a look at the news report. There is a police officer that carries the bcd up the beach. It is hard to see but it looks like one set.
    I looked after seeing your question as I thought I could be mistaken, as at the time, I was being smashed by waves into the hull of our boat trying to free the diver from the harness in order to get him on our boat. DIVER FOUND ON OCEAN FLOOR : NBN
     
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    This man being interviewed said the diver was found on the bottom and brought up...?
    1.JPG

    Lots of the lifesaving squad on hand. The story mentioned some were rookies in their teens! You can click this pic to enlarge, but still can't make out much about the rig...?
    2.jpg
     
  7. Nitro91

    Nitro91 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
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    It was a 16yo who was one of the two on the life saving boat taken back to the beach. he did his best it appeared.
     
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  8. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney
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    The 16 year old most certainly did a fantastic job. His mentor was in the IRB that we transferred the diver from our boat to. Towards the end of the footage you see me walk up to him and shake his hand and tell him he did a great job. The poor bugger was distraught as this was the first time he had to perform CPR on a real patient. Unfortunately this was also his first fatality.
    Nitro91 was also on the boat that initially rescued the diver and assisted from the divers right side, cutting free the BCD webbing and assisting in getting the diver on board. It took 2 on the boat and 2 in the water to heave him up.

    @DandyDon, the man being interviewed is talking crap. On scene he was explaining to the other life savers after the diver was transferred to an ambulance, that the diver had activated an emergency buoyancy device to bring him to the surface. The fellow obviously had no idea about dive equipment. Myself and one of the other rescuers pulled him up straight away and explained to him what really happened. He seemed to be making up details on the fly. Im sure he did not intentionally do this, but I think its more important to have the facts from people who did the rescue and were on site at the location.
    The rookies he talked about: They placed some floats on the sand to mark out a landing area for the chopper. This was despite the police inspector on scene advising them the chopper could not land on the beach and would be landing on a nearby oval. They also helped prevent onlookers coming onto the beach to gawk whilst paramedics and senior life guards were working on the diver. A lot has been exaggerated by the reporter and this man being interviewed.
    I am extremely angry that this guy being interviewed also states the diver was pulled from the bottom by his buddy.
    He was not, and this statement indicates a problem occurred underwater. This misinformation does not help in discovering the cause of the accident or what we divers could take away and learn from it.
    The diver was located about 30 meters from the shore. There was a 2 to 3 foot rough choppy swell and strong current. The diver was found floating on his back with his head (and airways) just below the water line (head tilted back). The diver was extremely blue with dilated pupils. Rescue breaths were not an option and virtually impossible due to the rough conditions, getting him on the boat for CPR was more important. This I remember vividly and can assure you this is FACT as I was the first to get to him followed closely by anther diver from our boat, who also happens to be a navy clearance diver.
    I also spoke to his buddy back on the beach while the diver was being worked on. He said that they had surfaced, communicated on the surface and started for shore. Upon reaching shore the buddy realised he was not with him and was unconscious in the water. The buddy then did the right thing and raised the alarm with people around the area then waited on the rocks at the waters edge to flag down and direct any rescuers. If he had gone back in from his location he would probably have been smashed against rocks creating a double tragedy.
    It seems every time there is an accident or death media speak to the wrong people and do not get the facts.
     
  9. katepnatl

    katepnatl Moderator Staff Member

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    Scubadivesydney, thanks so much for providing your first-hand version of what happened - and for for your role in trying to save the diver.
     
  10. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney
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    Thanks katepnatl... I think having the facts is important so we can all learn from any mistakes, even if the facts are not helpful, at least then we dont change things based on someone's theory or inaccurate reporting. I read something in another forum earlier today i would like to share below.
    If I should die while diving.
    If I should die while diving please do not hesitate to discuss the incident and assess every element with a view to furthering your understanding of how to enhance diver safety.

    If I should die while diving get the facts. They won't be readily available and will definitely not be correct as reported by the media. But get the facts as best you can. If I should die while diving understand, as I already do, that it will most likely involve fault on my part to some degree or another so do not hesitate to point that out.
    If I should die while diving some of the fault will probably belong to my buddy and that needs to be honestly assessed as well though I must admit this is one area where I hope that compassion will be in the mix.

    If I should die while diving there might be those who try to squelch discussion out of a misplaced notion of respect for the deceased, family and friends. They can say nice things about me at my funeral... but in the scuba community I want the incident discussed.

    If I should die while diving at least I didn't die in bed.
    http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/accidents-incidents/123910-if-i-should-die-while-diving.html
     
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  11. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    That looks like UP's "Should I die..." statement stuck at the top of this forum. If so, glad it was shared. I plaggerized it heavily for a letter to my daughter...
    Indeed, for that and more. Sounds like you & your divers dig a great job at giving the poor fellow his best chance along with the lifesaving crew. Depressing that it didn't succeed I suppose, but you all have much to be proud of. :medal:

    It's common that we get crap from news stories and it's rare that we get first hand accounts to correct the mistakes previously offered, explain what really happened, answer our questions, etc. Sounds like there was a gear problem which might have lead to complications or played a role?
     
  12. dvbuddy

    dvbuddy Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Australia
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    I'm the buddy of the diver who died, who was a good friend of mine. It really troubled me that the news report was so incorrect. I would like to tell the real story. What really happened is that we were doing a shore dive next to Skillion, which we did several times before without any difficulties. We came to the water and checked water conditions first, which were good at this point, so we decided to come back gear-up and do the dive. We started our dive at 9:20am and went around skillion. The water conditions were good with good visibility and we were diving next to the wall for about 30 mins after which I had around 120 bars left and indicated that we should go back. Just to clarify, my buddy was our leader, he had much more experience diving than me, he was in a dry suite with twin tanks diving almost every week and snorkeling/free diving in the area several times a week. He was a good swimmer and was going often to the pool to practice free diving. My air was always running out faster than his and I always had to indicate when to turn back. My buddy was also doing most of the navigation and I was rarely checking my compass. We got farther east on the way back, where water was dipper at around 20 meters. I started to get low on air and we decided to surface to check how far we are from the shore. I was surprised when my buddy didn't do his 3 minutes safety stop, I did 2 minutes swim at safety zone watching my buddy swiming at the surface. When I surfaced I asked my buddy why he didn't do his safety stop and he mentioned that he put different clothing under his dry suite, which gave him more buoyancy. He seemed to be fine and we didn't go dipper than 20 meters with most dive at around 12 meters, so I didn't worry me. My buddy wanted to dive again after we surfaced and realized we still had to swim far, but I was at 35 bars when we surfaced and we decided to swim on the surface. We were swimming toward the shore, but the swell was getting worse and I told my buddy, we should probably swim under water for 5 minutes, which would be easier. We agreed on that and dived again to around 5 meters, he was diving a bit dipper at 7 meters. I was getting very low on air and we decided to surface again, I had around 20 bars left when we surfaced, but it was worth it since we were quite close to the shore. I decided to go straight to the exit point, which was close to the rocks, but was the fastest way. I saw my buddy swimming farther from the rocks at which point we separated. I assumed he had more air and he decided to take the safest route, which was longer. I straggled to get back to the shore with the current pulling towards the rocks, when I came out I was exhausted and saw my buddy swimming to the shore. He was not indicating he had any trouble and was getting closer to the shore, so I didn’t realize he was in danger at first. He started to get pulled closer to the skillion rocks and I saw he was getting in trouble. At this time I realized he is in trouble as the swell was getting even stronger. I knew I wouldn’t be able to swim all the way back to him and dragged him to the shore, as I was exhausted from the exit. So, I rushed to the top to call for help, when I was running for help I heard my buddy screaming for help and that was the first time he indicated he was in trouble. When I got to the road there was a woman with the mobile, who apparently saw that we were in trouble and was already calling emergency. I made sure she indicated where he is stuck exactly and rushed back to the shore to see if I could help my buddy in any way and guide the rescuers boat. When I was coming back I saw my buddy floating on his back much closer to the rocks than before and he appeared to be unconscious at this point. I went to the rocks to see if I could pull him out in any way and saw the rescue was coming our way. I started to wave to the boat and point at my buddy. The rescue boat noticed my buddy and me, they were very fast to get to my buddy and pull him out. It probably took less than 10 minutes since my buddy called for help and was pulled out to the boat. Unfortunately, despite all the effort to get him out it was too late to resuscitate him. I’ve done everything I could to save my buddy. I’m deeply shocked with what happened and not sure if I will ever dive again. We both did a lot of dives and snorkeling all around central coast and sometimes had to exit in even bigger swell and strong current. My buddy was very experienced with probably close 100 shore dives in the area and we did shore dives with longer surface swims with him before.
     
  13. bleeb

    bleeb Single Diver

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    Condolences for your loss. Thank you for your report. Hopefully we can collectively derive something positive from this situation by learning any lessons that can be learned and helping someone else avoid a similar tragedy in the future, all while respecting the victim and all those involved.
     
  14. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you for your report. I know this must be a terribly difficult time for you.
     
  15. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Dvbuddy. I hope we can be supportive of your recovery here. Sad tale.
     
  16. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney
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    dvbuddy, thanks very much for letting us know. Myself and the other divers were not sure what happened leading up to our arrival. We only knew what you briefly told us back on the beach as I said in other posts.
    Please do not stop diving. Accidents happen.
    As I stated in a previous post, you did everything correctly. If you had gone back into the water to help your mate, we could have had a double tragedy.
    If you had not been on those rocks waving your arms we would not have spotted him as quickly.

    Our deepest condolences are with you.

    We were not able to swap details with you on the day, but myself and some of the other divers would like to meet or even just chat with you privately.
    Please contact me via my email address as I see you don't have messaging enabled on here.
    scubadivesydney@gmail.com

    You made the correct decision to stay on land, especially in that surf so close to the rocks.
     
  17. clownfishsydney

    clownfishsydney Manta Ray

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    Very sad indeed. Scubadivesydney, were they diving on the south side of the Skillion as has been reported or on the north side next to the Skillion Cave? Not clear from all the reports.

    The one thing that is certain, the Police will not seek independent expert review of what happened and mistakes will be made as to the cause of this accident.
     
  18. Nitro91

    Nitro91 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sydney, Australia
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    the south side, entry at the other side of the oval furthest away from the boat ramp.
     
  19. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Administrator Staff Member

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    And the media will stuff it up.... these truths follow as night does day!

    Dvbuddy. Thank you for posting your story. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you responded to the emergency in exactly the right way. I also hope you will find some comfort in the words of your fellow divers here. Scubadivesydney and the rest of the rescuers.. it is a comfort to know that in time of need divers jump in and do the right thing to help. Sad as I am to hear of one fatality ....I am just as glad the rescue was done by people who could achieve the rescue without additional lives being lost. Well done all and thanks for posting so we may live and honour the lost member of our community! Condolences to the family and friends involved.
     
  20. scubadivesydney

    scubadivesydney Angel Fish

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    Location: Sydney
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    Check your email re diver location on our arrival. dvbuddy can only advise where they were diving up until we arrived on scene. (see his statement above if you missed it)

    Regarding the police and independent expert review: refer to your own comments in the Tina Watson case :p
    We are confident we gave every little piece of info to them, however it was not a signed statement just info he noted in his book. We didn't get a chance to go over what was written down. Myself and at least one other rescuer has taken notes as soon as we got home to ensure if questioned again later we can refer back to facts, not anything we may confuse later.
     

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