Diver dies in BVI

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by alashas, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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    A brief blurb in link below about a 53-year-old American tourist who died while diving near Green Cay and Little Jost Van Dyke on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Our prayers for his family and friends.

    Sincerely, alashas

    The BVI Beacon
     
  2. NetDoc

    NetDoc Chairman of the Board

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    Are there any details?
     
  3. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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    I've called 2 diveshops in the BVI and details are still few at the moment. Person was apparently diving from a private charter boat.
     
  4. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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  5. wreckchick

    wreckchick Scubavangelist

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    Just read in the local paper that his body was recovered. I have no other details, very sad.

    Rachel
     
  6. sam miller

    sam miller Public Safety Diver

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    I received an E mail from a long time diving companion--the diver was his next door neighbor in Fort Meyers.

    Details of recovery need not be published--be satisfied that he body was recovered on the surface.

    sdm
     
  7. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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  8. da-gd

    da-gd Nassau Grouper

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    We were in the BVI then, in fact we were on a Dive BVI (the local Dive company that we dove with from Little Dix Bay all week) boat preparing for a dive at "Project Ocean Survey" (or POS) at Cockroach Island (just a few miles from the fatality site) at the time of the loss. It was about 1500 local time and we were listening to the US Coast Guard with Paul and Rudy from Dive BVI (and very cool guys) as we were gearing up. It wasn't until a day later that we heard the awful news that the man was found dead. We have no special information on this, but felt a bit of a connection being in the same water at the same time. Our best thoughts for strength at this horrible time go out to the family and friends of the Johanning's.
     
  9. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Sorry to hear of the loss, of course - warmest wishes to the family. I'm sure his son/dive buddy was frantic at losing his on dad in the water, searching thru the dark night, and such.

    No wish to try to place any blame on anyone here, but only to seek learning and emphasis previously accepted safety procedures, that last story you linked had two bits of info that bothered me...
    "Johanning apparently drowned some time after surfacing with one of his sons, said Phil Aspinall, coordinator for Virgin Islands Search and Rescue. The two came up together, but his son went back under to look for the third diver with them. Johanning was gone when the others resurfaced." I hate 3 diver teams. I've done them, but usually felt simply twice as challenged at watch out for both of them, while less secure that either was watching out for me. Looks like the accident started when the team broke down, only to have an experienced diver die after surfacing. We do not know if he had air in the tank or had dumped his weights, do we? If he'd dumped his weights, I don't guess his body would have been found on the sea floor?

    And I have been the one who went back to look for a missing diver while the one I suface with left the water. I have to wonder why the 3 did not surface together, but only speculating and questioning here as I don't know the conditions. My incident was surfacing thru a crowd of divers in Santa Rosa NM, losing sight of one, not finding him on the surface. I used my pony to search, while the other diver exited not having enough air to descend - only to learn later than the missing diver had left the water alone. He also left the site immediately, and we have not spoken in over two years since.

    "Authorities believe Johanning had to swim against a strong current through choppy water to reach a dingy that the men took to the dive site. One theory is that he went back under to avoid the rough water and couldn’t make it back up." This seems to be yet another accident where no one stayed on the boat, with that becoming critical to the situation. I have done that once with a couple of nice SB local divers, but was concerned enough to discuss the approach in detail - agreeing we would stay together first and foremost, and what our exit stradegy would be if we could not get back to the boat. Both of these dives were very close to land with houses on Puget Sound - much tamer than their location, I think.

    Dive team failure and untended boat in a remote location. Any differing thot...?

    JVD seems to be just east of Tortola, with Green Cay and Little JVD between...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. da-gd

    da-gd Nassau Grouper

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    Being a newbie on this board and meaning no disrespect, it seems inappropriate to me to address causation/fault so close to this experienced diver's passing. Additionally to provide opinions or thoughts in response to a newspaper's account of what "Authorities believe" or of "one theory" seems a bit reckless, as it does to presume that the boat was unattended. I just don't know if that's the case or not. I would be interested in the views of this board's most experienced divers relative to the facts when they are released. I have read annecdotal comments involving current, sharks, heart attacks, etc. Again, I mean no eye-poke, but I'm choosing to wait for facts, assuming they surface publicly.
     
  11. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to SB. The whole story is hardly ever available. We just try to learn from the stories we do receive, attempting to avoid any accusations. Have you read http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/accidents-incidents/52701-special-rules-please-read.html - if not, please do. Stickies on forums really are important to posting in the respective forums.
     
  12. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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    da-gd,

    Yes, the folks at DiveBVI are a great dive shop! I dove with them in Sept., and will be diving with them again in early Jan. In fact, I did my OW cert. dives with Paul's wife, Cori, at their Leverick Bay shop in '03. Paul and Cori were celebrating their 25th in Sept., so they were not on VG, but I dove with Rudy & Jeff.

    DandyDon,

    Mr. Johanning and the other 2 divers were at "The Playground" dive site, at the location you mention, which is to the west of Tortola. I have done 2 dives there, and it is one of my favorite sites in the BVI. It is on the northwest side of Green Cay, in a somewhat protected cove, but, as you can see from the satellite image, exposed to the Atlantic. There is always some current there, and a healthy reef system, with a large stand of pillar coral, boulders, overhangs, swim throughs, as well as large schools of fish. I've done around 40 dives in the BVI, and this site has the largest concentration of fish that I have seen in the BVI. It has been fairly calm when I've dove there in the Fall; however, both of my BVI dive books caution against diving there if the north swells are up, which can be a fairly common occurence during the winter months.

    I have photos of the Playground here:
    honeymoon2 : photos : BVI JVD Scuba Playground with Capt. Colin 2006 Oct.- powered by SmugMug
    and here:
    honeymoon2 : photos : BVI JVD Scuba Sandy Spit Wall, Playground, Pirate's Purchase with JVD Scuba- powered by SmugMug

    Sincerely, alashas
     
  13. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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    By the way, I just received this email from Capt. Colin of JVD Scuba:

    "Jost Van Dyke Scuba arrived at 'the Playground' mooring buoy Thursday morning to assist and continue in search efforts with two Instructors and two advanced 'master scuba diver trainer' rated tourists who were paying to dive and wanting to help. Upon arrival at the buoy, VISAR divers were on the mooring and divers were being deployed minutes later to search. We were advised that no assistance was necessary in that area and our team went downwind to search at the Twin Towers area off the Northside of Little Jost Van Dyke, for the potential drift of the body. After a one hour search dive and 30 minute surface interval at the Twin Towers, our dive vessel returned to the Playground mooring where the body had already been recovered and VISAR divers had left the scene. Our divers went on the dive anyway, less than 1 hour after the body had been recovered and removed from the water, there were absolutely NO SHARKS in the vicinity at that time (and they were looking!!!). Abundant fish life, as usual, but no sharks whatsoever, and our dive covered the entire site and then some, totalling :55 minutes bottom time. We dived the site again twice on Friday and no sharks were seen either, so the rumors of some massive school of sharks invading the BVI is "all media/rumor oriented"... because we have four boats diving around Jost all day long, six days a week, and it's just our normal abundant marine life, nothing dangerous. Of course, we are all very sick and disturbed that a diver died here, but that can happen when BASIC scuba safety rules are neglected: the divers did not stay together and the fault is unfortunately that of all three divers, plain and simple, and sad: the 'Buddy System' must be adhered to from entering the water to leaving it, every time. Everyone MUST stay closely together when scuba diving at all times. Also, we understand that the diver, although relatively experienced (we hear), had not been diving in some time, and that was, in hindsight, poor judgement to go diving without Professional supervision on the first dive of their vacation. If I haven't piloted an airplane in a year, I wouldn't take one up with my wife and kids alone and fly, I'd hire a professional Pilot to take me up first and go over things again to refresh my skills with a Refresher Course. Unfortunately, we commonly see tourists rent sailing yachts and go diving unsupervised with little or no experience in true 'open water' diving, yet they have a false sense of security about 'how easy diving is' and we are truly lucky that these incidents are not more common in our area. We ALWAYS recommend Refresher Courses... and diving with any of the Professional BVI Dive Operators is the 'guaranteed way' to safely enjoy all of the wonderful dive sites we have to share with International travelers of all skill levels. My family and our Six Instructors are all deeply sorry for this tragedy happening so close to home for us, and more so disturbed and saddened that another family is passing through such a horrible loss of a father and husband, and our condolences, sympathies, and prayers are going out to them. A true loss. My best regards, Capt Colin D. Aldridge, Director Jost Van Dyke Scuba & BVI Eco-Tours , Great Harbour,
    JVD, BVI 284.495.0271 JVD Scuba - Jost Van Dyke & The BVI
    info@jostvandykescuba.com"
     
  14. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Thanks, alashas.

    Again, not my place to try to blame, but for the readers here who want to learn here - I think Capt Colin's emails supports some of my assessment: The buddy team failed because the buddies did not keep it intact. And while local divers may do that dive with the boat unattended (which I'd still say is foolhardy if they do with that location), if the divers had been out of diving for an extended period and asked our suggestions on the plan, the refresher course would have been encouraged by many here. For any diver with a lack of recent experience to leave the boat empty there just screams "bad plan" at me.
     
  15. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Orca

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    Many divers dive solo. The buddy team has its place but not for all.

    My condolences to the family
     
  16. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Tech Diver

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    Buddy teams, three man teams, or solo does not matter if everyone involved knows what they are doing and is prepared for it. I frequently dive solo and prefer it to insta buddy's or three man teams who are not used to diving together. I sometimes dive with two friends who are DIR trained and though I'm not I understand and am disciplined enough to follow them using their training as a guide. When we dive together the plan is discussed and followed. Changes are sometimes made on the fly for little things but they are agreed upon and followed by all of us. And there is none of this one stay down or one goes up. Everything is done as a team and constant contact is kept. How close depends on conditions but we are never to far apart to assist each other. Three man teams that are not disciplined or familiar with each other are to me very risky. I'd rather be solo in this case or have one stay on the boat. Tragic yes but it again reinforces that you plan your dive and dive your plan. Unfortunately his son's will have to live with the decisions that were made that cost them their father.
     
  17. alashas

    alashas Barracuda

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