Diver Missing in the Florida Keys

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by jviehe, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. jviehe

    jviehe Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tallahassee, FL
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  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
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    Hope she dropped her weights to float higher in the water and be easier to find - and they find her soon!

    don
     
  3. k4sdi

    k4sdi Single Diver

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    Can anyone clarify if the boats name was "Tropic Vista" or were they diving from the "Tropic Diver" which is from the Tropic Vista resort?


    Mark
     
  4. Genesis

    Genesis Great White

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    But from what I saw of the condition archive at the buoys out there, what the heck were these divers doing out there unless they were WELL prepared and experienced?

    There are days when you're better off not going. This looks like one of them for most recreational divers.

    I have no idea how experienced these two were, however, but it sounds like they did not have a Dive Alert between the two of them - a nearly-essential piece of gear on a drift dive if there might be ugly current or another event that could get you separated from the boat.

    Unfortunately, the odds are not good at this point....
     
  5. d33ps1x

    d33ps1x Divemaster

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    Too bad indeed.
     
  6. ReefGuy

    ReefGuy Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Punta Gorda, Fl.
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    I stay at the Tropic Vista whenever I'm in the keys. K4, I bet the boat was the Tropic Diver.

    I've dove Crockett reef several times, and never had any problems there. If it was true to my experience, it wasn't a drift dive, there are mooring lines there.

    I know both the captains of the Tropic Diver, and the DMs as well, and they are a professional, knowledgable group. I'm sure they wouldn't allow people to be out beyond their abilities.
     
  7. jroy017

    jroy017 Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Montreal, Canada
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    What is a dive alert ???Never heard of that at least maybe called that way.
     
  8. Genesis

    Genesis Great White

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    is an air-powered horn that goes inline in your BC inflator hose.

    It produces an UNGODLY loud screech when activated.

    If you dive where you MIGHT get lost from the boat/upline, it is a piece of what I consider to be MANDATORY equipment.

    It is so loud, in fact, that if you actually use it above water you had better stick your head underwater when you sound it - lest you damage your hearing.

    It can be heard on a boat, even over the engines, at close to a mile distance.

    Its only downfall is that it requires some air pressure in your tank to operate.
     
  9. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Quote: "He then realized he was too far from the boat to make it on his own. "
    What does THAT mean? I just love these first reports.....
     
  10. diverlady

    diverlady Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GTA, Ontario Canada
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    This was a mandatory piece of equipment on a liveaboard I went on in British Columbia. They put one on for you if you didn't have one.

    I have my own now.

    Diverlady
     
  11. Warren_L

    Warren_L Tech Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    Are those the quackers you put on the lp host to the bc inflator?
     
  12. diverlady

    diverlady Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GTA, Ontario Canada
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    There's more than one kind but yes, that's where they go. There are some that "quack" that work both above and below the surface and then some just for above. Apparently you can stack them too.



    here's one

    Diverlady
     
  13. pufferfish

    pufferfish Manta Ray

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    Dive Alert

    I also have an orange safety sausage and old CD for visual signaling in an open ocean environment. The Dive Alert has come in handy several times and as Genesis says produces an incredibly loud sound that can be heard over long distances on open water.
     
  14. Genesis

    Genesis Great White

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    also work underwater, although they don't say so in their literature.

    Try it sometime - it works. The sound is very muted, but two or three short blasts underwater sounds distinctive enough that it should get a buddy's attention reliably.
     
  15. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    Edited piece from my "Dive Workshop" column in Jul '00 issue of "Rodale's Scuba Diving":

    "What safety devices should I carry? Tom Douglas, Santa Fe, NM.

    I am a firm believer in safety devices, and recommend that you carry devices which emit auditory and visual signals, and can be used both day & night. Fortunately, there are good quality devices of both varieties readily available at reasonable cost. At a minimum, these would include:

    1. Safety sausage/signaling marker buoy. These are brightly colored tubes designed to make you visible in the water. Do not purchase or rely on cheap plastic models which tend to spring leaks & cannot be inflated firmly enough to stay extended in a stiff wind. Select a model made of sturdy material which inflates through a valve that securely opens & closes. Make sure you have adequate length, like 5-6 feet. Even a high quality sausage which is only 3 feet long will be difficult to see in swells or from a distance. These can be carried in a BC pocket or rolled up & clipped to a BD strap or D-ring. Day-glo yellow is in general the most readily visible, followed by day-glo orange/red. Some such devices come with both colors.

    2. Dive Alert with back up whistle. This small device mounts between the BC inflator hose and BC inflator valve. It works above water, but not below, and can be very loud, so you must take care not to sound it in your ears or those of others. It is designed to function as long as you have at least 100PSI left in your tank, although mine does not seem at full volume at that pressure. Also recommended is a back up whistle which can be blown orally when there is insufficient cylinder pressure to activate the Dive Alert.

    3. Strobe. This is important as the safety sausage & signaling mirror are of minimal utility after dark. It should be bright enough to be seen from a reasonable distance & have sufficient battery power to remain activated for at least one full night. These can be fastened to areas such as the tank valve or shoulder straps where their light is plainly visible.

    Other safety devices include a signaling mirror. These area small devices with a hole in the center which can be carried in a BC pocket. They are aimed toward the source to be signaled through the small sighting hole. Some frugal divers instead use a CD, and these in fact work well.

    A few divers carry dye packs which can be released at the surface and color a large area of water. These are effective even in rough water & make you very visible from the air. On the downside, they are slightly bulky in the BC pocket and may leak due to the pressure changes inherent in diving. Others carry small launchers/pistols which fire aerial flares. Again, these can be slightly bulky and can be difficult to maintain due to frequent submersions in water. They also cannot go with you by air, even in checked baggage."

    I highly recommend carrying both visual (for both day & night) & auditory devices. You'll be unimaginably glad you do if you ever need them."

    Best regards.

    DocVikingo
     
  16. pipedope

    pipedope Great White

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    I have only seen the short reports on this but will venture a guess as to what *might* have happened.

    The buddies surface in rough conditions and start swimming toward the boat.

    The missing diver fails to establish positive bouyancy, removes regulator and/or mask, sinks under the surface and gets a lung full of water. The buddy on the surface turns and does not see her because she is underwater.

    Dive alerts, safety sausages and the like don't help in this kind of case, except perhaps for the diver still on the surface to call for help while he goes to look for his buddy.

    It is also possible that the lady diver went back under the surface for an easier swim back to the boat and then had other problems.

    The published reports give more questions than answers.
     
  17. baenglish73

    baenglish73 Angel Fish

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    My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were both abandoned off of Key Largo a few years ago. They surfacee and saw the boat steaming away. They drifted for an hour or so before being picked up by a fishing boat.

    I'll have to find out which dive-op it was.
     
  18. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    Search called off for missing diver

    By Craig M. Douglas / News Staff Writer
    Thursday, November 13, 2003

    The search for a Framingham woman who disappeared while scuba diving off the Florida Keys has been officially called off.

    Tatyana Smirnov, 29, an employee at Fidelity Investments in Marlborough, was reported missing Sunday after she and a friend, 35-year-old Alexi Elinson of Allston, drifted from their tour boat, the "Tropic Vista." Elinson, who was later rescued by a search crew, said Smirnov vanished as the two struggled to swim back to the skiff.

    The two divers were part of a 12-person trip to Crocker Reef, which is located off the southwestern tip of Key Largo.

    After combing the area from helicopters and search boats, members of the Monroe County sheriff's office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Commission stopped the search for Smirnov yesterday.

    "We just weren't finding anything. You can only look for so long," said Becky Herrin, a Monroe County spokeswoman.

    Herrin said there was no indication of foul play in Smirnov's disappearance. She said the sheriff's office investigates diving accidents "periodically" and "generally recovers the person or body very frequently."

    "We'll certainly be keeping (Smirnov's case) open until perhaps we recover her or her body," Herrin said. "It's a tough case to talk about."

    At Fidelity Investments in Marlborough, where Smirnov worked for the past four years, the situation has been unsettling. The company said support services are available for any of the site's 3,800 employees affected by Smirnov's disappearance.

    Smirnov joined Fidelity's information technology department as a temporary employee in 1999 and was hired as a full-time systems programmer in December 2000.

    "We're just hoping the outcome is all right," said Frank Crocetti, Fidelity's vice president and general manager at the Marlborough site.

    Out of respect for Smirnov and her family, Crocetti declined additional comment.

    Smirnov is a member of the Russian Diving Club, a group of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who share a love for diving, according to its Web site.


    Ordered my Dive Alert today...

    don
     
  19. on my way wanda

    on my way wanda Angel Fish

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    This is a important piece of equipment, the liveaboard you mentioned above,a diver on one of our dives actually did use it, good thing he had one. :holycow:
     
  20. SCUBAMedicBill

    SCUBAMedicBill Nassau Grouper

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    Did the boat realize that the two divers were missing, and if so, did they search?
     

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