Divers Missing in Bali

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Diver71_au, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Diver71_au

    Diver71_au Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
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    Not a diving accident as such but divers taking a boat to the dive at Nusa Lembongan - news report here

    Although another report indicates that the divers may have dived with 4 surfacing but the other 8 caught in a current.
    ---------- Post Merged at 12:26 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 10:35 AM ----------




    Seems that this one has had a positive result - Indonesian news reports now indicating that all 8 missing divers have been retrieved alive and well by a fishing trawler.

     
  2. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    The boat operator is called Dive Concepts, and they are based in Lembongan, so the boat trip was definitely a dive excursion. The 12 divers were diving a site called Mangrove, which is subject to strong currents. The last time I did that dive, my bubbles shot out straight in front of me rather than going up. This group was pretty lucky to get picked up at night. They were supposed to come up from the dive at about 4:30 p.m. They were reported missing when it was already getting dark.

    Just another case of an incident in the Lembongan area due to currents. People tend to understate and underestimate the challenges of diving in that area.
     
  3. NWGratefulDiver

    NWGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
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    Something like that happened to me in that same area back in 2001. Our dive vessel was on the opposite side of a small island, waiting for us to come up, and we were drifting away from the island on the other side. Fortunately, we only drifted for about 25 minutes before being spotted by a fishing boat, who sailed over to where our boat was and told them that they had divers drifting away. We only went about a mile or so before they came and fetched us.

    Yeah, I'm told that's pretty common in that area ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  4. zivva

    zivva Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
    145
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    If I may ...

    This operator IS NOT based in Lembongan but in Sanur with another office in Tulamben : BALI DIVING | PLONGEE BALI | PADI DIVE COURSES | DIVE TRIPS | Eco Dive Resort

    They offer day trips to Nusa Lembongan / Nusa Penida and rent boats to get there. The actual rented boat (My Darling) has already been involved in incidents in the past months around Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida.

    Mangrove Point is actually one of the safest & easiest dive site around Lembongan & Penida ... as long as you are used to it. You just have to stay close to the bottom & close to the reef. Period. Nothing fancy here ... and obviously you need to dive this site @ slack tide ... as any drift around Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida.

    If you go there @ low tide (it's the case here), it can get tricky ... but still manageable. At low tide, viz is not good, current is strong and pushes you against the reef but it remains manageable ... if you have any experience with the dive site & its topography to know where you are.
     
  5. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    Oh, gosh, you're right. I know it's Tulamben, and started thinking Mangrove, so my fingers simply typed Lembongan.

    At any rate, here at the dive show in Kuala Lumpur, there is a lot of commentary about this incident. It seems that not only was the tide wrong, but it was just after a full moon when tidal currents are most pronounced. In terms of experience with the dive site, I haven't heard anything about the backgrounds of the divers, but I did hear that the op sent just one guide for the entire boatload, so if the divers were not familiar with the topography and lost track of the guide, they would have had more difficulty in following the right route. According to other French ops from Bali who are at the show (Bali/Lombok is well-represented at this show), this particular op offers very low cost packages, so they have to find ways to save money. Perhaps (and this is purely speculative) their selection of boat/skipper and the dive staffing decisions they make are influenced due to this.

    This is the second lucky rescue of a large group of divers adrift in the dark that has taken place in recent weeks (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/ac...-6-divers-went-missing-off-tioman-island.html). The Nautilus Lifeline is looking better and better, and in fact, I've just bought two of them to rent out to my divers who want to take them on their Thailand dives. I figure they cost no more than an inexpensive dive computer to buy, and I have those for rent, so....
     
  6. zivva

    zivva Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
    145
    61
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    Yep, this op is known to be the cheapest in Bali ... kind of low cost op.

    As everybody knows, you get what you pay for in this business ! and when a dive trip from Sanur to Lembongan / Penida is 25% cheaper than competition, there may be something wrong ...

    - 1-to-8 (assuming the 4 others divers were with another guide, otherwise it makes 1-to-12 !) in Mangrove is a CRAZY ratio ! Period.
    Most of the ops offer a 1-to-4 ratio (for the most experienced divers - including divers with experience in the area - 1-to-2 for the less ones) when diving in the area.
    You can't manage 8 drifting divers whatever experience they have. It's just impossible !
    I guess the divers did their first dive in Crystal Bay, as most of the day trippers do. 1-to-8 @ Crystal Bay is not crazy, it's just insane !

    - Guides & skippers with experience in Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida ARE NOT the cheapest around Bali, both dive sites & navigation around the islands having the reputation of being tricky ... and they can be if you don't know them, as demonstrated by this incident.

    Hopefully this is just an incident but I don't see how it can't get worst in the future with such an unsafe way to do business.

    ---------- Post Merged on July 8th, 2012 at 01:18 PM ---------- Previous Post was on July 7th, 2012 at 02:07 PM ----------

    More details here : http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_new...ed-by-fluke-of-bali-fishing-boat-skipper?lite

    Not sure how it is supposed to work but the involved boat is still taking guests around NL & NP waters, saw it today @ Manta Bay & Crystal Bay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
    Bali Diver and Quero like this.
  7. Bali Diver

    Bali Diver Barracuda

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  8. bongabonga

    bongabonga DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Indonesia
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    I was in the tulamben area yesterday, doing wreck diving when this news break out and saw the shop.
    No local dive guide in Bali would take more than 4 divers - its reckless if they did bring only 1 DM for 12 divers
     
  9. zivva

    zivva Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
    145
    61
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  10. JohnN

    JohnN Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oar--eee---gun
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    Hmmmm. . . one of the dark sides of Bali is the lack of professionalism with some of the dive shops. Your link really brought me up short, since I learned to dive with Eco Dive in Jemeluk and they are a first rate operation. It's not uncommon in Bali for one shop to copy the name of another with apparent impunity. Eco Dive has been in business since the late 90's.

    FWIW, Jemeluk is an overlooked spot with some superb muck-diving, although you need to get used to the local women carrying your tanks and gear the 50 yards to the beach :)
     
  11. bongabonga

    bongabonga DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Indonesia
    65
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    they carry tanks and gear with their HEAD...
     
  12. RyanDelMundo

    RyanDelMundo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: greatengineer@newmanity.net
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    Wow I was just up in Tulamben Monday and Tuesday and saw several people wearing Dive Concepts t-shirts. You'd think they would try and be a bit low-key (or perhaps be embarrassed?). Surprised I didn't hear anything about the incident, although I was mostly underwater :)

    I checked DC's Facebook page and not only did they lose these divers on Thursday, but on Friday they had the gall to post a photo of their "new OW divers," two of whom have the same name as those found adrift. I presume they are the same folks.

    Dive Concepts | Facebook

    How about that for your third dive? New OW divers, Divemaster doing their first drift dive ever (how is this possible? Must be a DMT, which would be even worse).

    I talked with Dive Concepts last year when I was up in Tulamben. They were sort of just getting started and had all sorts of grand plans. It was obvious they were keen to make dollars. They asked me to do discover dives for them, and I said, I'm only a DM, I can't do them, and they said, why not, we already have another DM doing them now. All about the money. Safety, an afterthought.

    All that said, I haven't been impressed with safety standards in Bali for diving. Including some sketchy stories (firsthand). Do your due diligence.
     
  13. LeafyGirl

    LeafyGirl Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Florida/Utila, HN
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    If they were asking you to do DSD dives then PADI would be interested in looking in to that as it is a violation of their standards.
    Glad all these folks are OK and hope they learned some valuable life experiences that will make them safer divers in the future!
     
  14. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    This is a bit off-topic, but in the interest of clarity: DMs can conduct DSDs but they have to possess a special add-on rating called "DSD leader" showing they have received the proper training to do so. A DSD leader DM can conduct DSDs in confined water at a ratio of 4 students to one DM. If the DM doesn't have this rating s/he cannot conduct DSDs and it is indeed a violation of standards.

    Whether this is a reflection of a laxity in approach amongst dive operators on Bali, I can't say. I do know that all over the world there are shops affiliated with each of the major certification agencies that cut corners and shave standards to the minimum for compliance. Recently we have had threads in A&I about US-based open water courses that appear at first glance to violating agency standards (though there are always at least two sides to every story...). I am very careful to send my divers to ops that I trust to work to high standards because I know that there are those out there that don't. So all I can say is that there are "good" and "not so good" operators all over the place, not just on Bali. SB is an excellent resource in find out about the especially good ones, IMO.
     
  15. guy dscuba

    guy dscuba Single Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Bali
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    I have it on good authority that they were on Blue Corner - a notorious dive-site. I would like to point out that there are plenty of very (very) good and responsible dive-operators around Bali, some foreign owned, some locally. This kind of negligence (diving at 16:30 on a full moon with falling tide at a dive-spot like that with 1 1/2 dive professionals - Pardon my sarcasm) is not the norm, but there are enough companies like this around to be worrying, and makes it worth watching who you are diving with.
    Some operators won't even dive at Blue Corner. At all.
    What made me laugh (albeit metaphorically) was a comment in a blog that the DM has (see bloglink above) that her little torch saved all of their lives.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2012
  16. Edward3c

    Edward3c Scuba Instructor

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    Two of us visited Bali earlier this year. Everything arranged through Bali Scuba, a BSAC Resort. From my experience they provide a safe and good service.

    So not all Bali operators are bad.
     
  17. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canmore, Alberta
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    ** MOD POST: **

    Some posts have been removed as they were "off-topic"
     
  18. zivva

    zivva Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
    145
    61
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    IMO, the inexperienced DM is not as responsible here as the DC she's working for.

    Ultimately, it's the DC managers responsability to hire experienced DM, plan their dive trips with their brain instead of their wallet & keep safety in mind instead of just thinking about $$$ when diving the area. Obviously here safety is accessory, the main interest being cutting the corners to make $$$.

    This kind of op should be banned without any further notice and instructors in charge should be expelled from professional associations with their name written in bold to make sure they can't work anymore in the industry and everybody understand it's not all about making $$$ but safety & enjoyment first.

    Unfortunately I don't see this happen ... and no doubt we will see future incidents or accidents caused by such only $$$ focused operators.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  19. Internet_Pawn

    Internet_Pawn Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: England
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    Don't know about the other two, but the Sara and Caroline in the FB photo are definitely not the same two. Caroline (PADI AOWD) has 86 OW dives, including drift dives, Sara (PADI Rescue) has around 100. I appreciate that it doesn't make them advanced divers, but it doesn't mean they are completely green. I'm not a diver, but getting my daughter back safely from this dive has made me more aware of what people go through when diving trips go wrong. Even though they all ended up safe, with nothing worse then blisters and jellyfish stings, I'd like to see that the right lessons get learned from this. You people can help.

    With hindsight, there may have been questions they should have asked before going with this dive company. They knew it was run by an experienced local diver and that the school was properly accredited PADI dive centre. Reviews of the centre were generally good, with any criticisms relating mainly to the quality of food and the friendliness of some staff. On this dive, things only went wrong when they surfaced after the dive, which is when deficiencies in staffing and equipment became apparent. Most of the reports in the press give an incorrect picture of what happened, which isn't at all helpful when it comes to learning lessons.

    From the perspective of the divers, everything about the dive ran according to plan. There were no issues under the water with regard to the strength of the current or of keeping the group together. The eight surfaced on schedule, in the right place and at the right time. Four of them, including the manager/owner? of the centre, had conserved their air better than some of the others and had decided to continue the dive. As it turned out, these four were the lucky ones.

    On surfacing, it became apparent that the dive boat hadn't followed the divers, but instead had remained at anchor at the start of the dive. It wasn't there to pick up the eight, which left them drifting in a surface current that was running faster than they could kick. When the dive boat eventually appeared, the four who had continued, because they had remained submerged for longer, were closer to the pick up point and were found by the dive boat after about an hour. The dive boat was then unable to find the other eight divers, who would have drifted further.

    I don't know what constitutes a normal risk assessment for a dive like this, but it strikes me that there was no concept of 'what if' about the plan for this dive:

    - The dive boat left it to chance that the divers would surface at the correct position (and that the boat would be at the same position).
    - Even though it didn't happen here, any diver surfacing early would have been left drifting.
    - The boat didn't appear to have a functioning radio or telephone, so it was unable to summon help. The boat had to leave the area to get help.
    - The dive flag/float was too small to be seen easily, given the size of the swell.
    - For a dive that was scheduled to finish late afternoon, the need for lights in the event of any mishap should have been foreseen. It was only by chance that one diver had a torch.
    - Only one diver had a whistle as part of their equipment.
    - You have to question the navigation skills of a skipper, if they can't find a position and calculate the current running there.
    - I'm surprised the party split up, particularly when they were understaffed for the number of divers (based on what I've read here). The most experienced DM stayed with the smaller group. As it was, this turned out for the best as the group of eight all worked well together.

    As I say, I have no idea of what constitutes 'normal' for this. It does seem to me that there is very little margin for error and that you put your life in the hands of someone on a boat who you are unlikely to know particularly well and who may not have the commitment and skill they should have. They may not even be a diver. Your safety relies more on the dive boat skipper than it does on the DM. We understand the skipper of this boat is likely to be charged, but that won't stop the same thing happening again. What might stop it happening again is people getting the right information about this.

    From what I've read and heard, the divers may have underestimated the difficulty of the dive, but that wasn't the cause of the problem. The dive went perfectly to plan until they surfaced. They were let down by a dive boat. The local police appear to agree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  20. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    9,501
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    Thank you very much for your post, Internet_Pawn. Those are really excellent questions you're asking and points you're making.

    It's not how an operation deals with things when all goes well that matters--it's easy to have happy divers and good reviews when there aren't any problems to cope with. What's more important is how prepared an operation is to handle a crisis: are the dive professionals truly professional with training in emergency management and solid local experience? Or are they perhaps tourists with a DM cert who work illegally in exchange for free dives and maybe a place to sleep and who are unfamiliar with local dive sites and conditions? Or even local-hires with inadequate training? What safety equipment does the boat carry--radio? GPS? emergency oxygen? What is the protocol for recall to the boat in case of emergency (i.e., how will divers in the water from one group know that a diver from another group has had an issue and the boat needs to leave the area, so everybody has to re-board ASAP); and conversely, how does the boat ensure that the divers are not in any need of assistance from the crew?

    As well, part of the issue revolves around what corners need to get cut when a dive operator offers tours at a price below market value. How does the operator economize? Do they serve only snacks and no proper meal on board the boat? Do they hire inexperienced guides (who may earn less than what the experienced ones can demand)? Do they put more divers with each guide so that they need fewer guides? Do they lease a boat that lacks maintenance or is skippered by a captain who naps while the divers are submerged? Is rental equipment adequate for the conditions? Clearly, some of these cost cutting measures, such as the guide's experience, are linked to the safe conduct of the excursion and some, such as the quality of the mid-day meal, are not.


    The sad fact is that you don't get what you don't pay for. So if the op is underpricing tours in order to get a larger volume of business, costs need to be cut somewhere. The questions are: what's getting cut, and does that effort at economizing also jeopardize people's well-being.
     
    richdrogpa and divewench1 like this.

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