First-hand account of down current, with video footage

Discussion in 'Near Misses and Lessons Learned' started by scurbyduck, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. scurbyduck

    scurbyduck Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: michigan
    22
    19
    0
  2. lionfish-eater

    lionfish-eater Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: On an Island in the Mississippi River
    1,153
    1,014
    113
    That video deserves it's own thread. So much to say but it will all come out wrong. Glad you are ok.
     
    crowny likes this.
  3. Ayisha

    Ayisha Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,198
    606
    113
    Wow, thanks Scurbyduck for posting that. What a terrifying experience. If you had experienced any other issue or failure at that time, even a usually minor one, it could have been a very different outcome. If you ran out of air while dealing with it, it could have been a very different outcome.

    I knew a couple that got caught in a downcurrent in Coz from 90' to 130' and it happened at the beginning of the dive when they had plenty of air to deal with it and ascend slowly and do an extended safety stop.

    I was caught in a downcurrent while cave river tubing in Belize once. It was extremely high, fast moving water after flooding and we were the first group allowed to tube through the caves in a week and not all caves had enough "head space" above the water and were still not safe. Half our group had walked around one iffy cave and some of us did it. The student guide suggested we daisy chain and led us right into the wall halfway through by accident. The leader at the back was yelling, "Get away from the wall! Kick off the wall!" The person beside me bore down on my tube as she kicked off and my feet hadn't touched the wall yet. My tube flipped and I was immediately dragged down about 15 feet WITH a life jacket and obviously no air source. I held my breath for a long time and kicked up as hard as I could to no avail. I was being held u/w and couldn't progress vertically at all. I then remembered what the leader said, kicked off the wall and went straight up within a second. I went flying in the surface current toward the opening of the cave, where the leader had caught my tube and had thought he had lost me since I was under for so long. If I had to hold my breath any longer, it would have been a very different outcome.

    Vertical currents usually aren't very wide, and you can kick yourself horizontally out of them.
     
    anklefoot, Splitlip and InTheDrink like this.
  4. Darol

    Darol ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location:
    999
    503
    93
    Notice the direction of the bubbles from the diver at 4:35 in the video.
    Thanks for sharing, glad your all safe. Very informative.
     
    RubberDucky, gypsyjim and scurbswife like this.
  5. koozemani

    koozemani Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    2,087
    668
    113
  6. Dan G

    Dan G Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    414
    226
    43
    +1 to all three of these. and double glad you're OK.

    So, did you do the in water re-compression(is that right?) as suggested by your buddy?
     
  7. scurbswife

    scurbswife Angel Fish

    8
    23
    0
    I would like to say this video cam was on my son's head and this was only his 4th wall dive, my husband was just above him until you see him come into the frame to assist him in going up, which they finally did after working their butts off. We wanted to post the video to show what was going on down there.


     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
    CT-Rich, HBfrogman and Ayisha like this.
  8. Mike

    Mike Great White

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    3,952
    2,710
    0
    Okay, I'll be the bad guy. I'll give you my observations and please tell me where I'm incorrect.

    #1 I see a diver descending without his buddy @2 minutes what I believe is his buddy is below him, turns and waves to camera diver to come closer which he ignores. By 2:15 he's continued ignoring his buddy and dropped at least 25 feet below him and still dropping. By 2:50 you can see his buddy is easily 60 feet above him.

    #2 I can see a good current running along the wall, it's running along and diagonally down the wall, doesn't appear to me to a big deal. @3:30-4:15 you've got a buddy team actually finning down to descend and keep their heads into the current, it takes them at least 45 seconds to descend the distance the camera diver did in 10 seconds. They obviously are taking it slow and conservative as you should when diving, are not dropping down like a rock, are aware of their surroundings have situational awareness. At 4:26 you get a good shot of the two divers, the wall and the bubbles and you can see it's a good current running laterraly along the face. The camera diver@ 4:43 for the first time realizes he needs to put air in his BCD to stop his rapid descent, he's feeling the pull of the current and the results of his rock shot drop descent and starting to let conditions over-whelm him.

    #3 From then on the camera diver is panicking and over-reacting to the current, he's been very aggressive in his descent, very unaware of the current and totally ignored staying with his buddy, he is now feeling the pull of the current and hasn't adjusted and starts panicking. From there on he's panicked. @5:00 minutes his buddy appears, obviously the current was totally manageable if this is the buddy from the descent, as the camera diver had 2 and 1/2 minutes of separations and the buddy easily comes to him. From then on the camera diver is panicked and over breathing his reg and does what inexperienced divers who panic do which is head to the surface like a balloon.

    * I'm not condemning the camera diver. These are my observations based on what I see in the video.

    Based only on what I could see from the video -

    1) Current was not deadly in any way.
    2) Camera diver would greatly benefit from some training on descending properly
    3) Camera diver would benefit and be safer from developing better situational awareness
    4) Camera diver needs to understand how important it is to stay with buddy during descent and on dive
    5) Buddy diver needs to understand the same thing
    6) It's quite possible that the buddy couldn't have grabbed the camera diver on his ascent, but if it was possible, he should have grabbed him and done everything possible to hold him at a safe depth, calm him down and do a slow safe ascent to safety stop. But like I said, hard to tell from the video if it was possible.
    7) Buddy needs more information about the issues of in water recompression and the better choice would have been to put the camera diver on 100% oxygen and monitor for DCS symptoms

    Glad the camera diver survived his panicked rapid ascent with no heath issues. Being a mom and that was your child, that has got to be horrifying to watch (the panicking part) and heart goes out to you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives:
    Location: Boulder, CO
    18,090
    9,417
    113
    Just a quick note so that people are not confused by terminology. There is no in-water recompression (IWR) in this video. The diver descends and does an omitted stop. There is a very big difference,which I do not have time to explain today. IWR is a major event that should only be attempted under extreme circumstances by people with proper equipment and the knowledge of how to do it.
     
  10. RubberDucky

    RubberDucky Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: ɹǝʇɐʍɹǝpun
    178
    30
    0

    It's hard for me to tell, as the last few minutes of the video are mostly bubbles, but what do you attribute to your success in ascending? Did you swim away from the wall + up?
     
  11. spector39

    spector39 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Arkansas
    98
    15
    0
    Wow, that video is truly horrifying. I'm glad eveyrone was ok.
     
  12. scurbyduck

    scurbyduck Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: michigan
    22
    19
    0

    Yes I did the omitted safety stop, according the the Suunto's manuel for my Zoop Computer it says you should do that.
     
  13. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,855
    113
    I have some of the same concerns at Mike. Buddies stay together, not just same ocean - something to keep in mind next time, but then trio diving is challenging in its own. Got to wonder if he ever looked at his depth gauge/computer as the camera did not.

    Here is how to embed a Vimeo on SB, in case anyone is wonder where the vid is above...

    [vimeo]40699868[/vimeo]
     
  14. Craig66

    Craig66 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Jersey
    620
    284
    0
    Wow that looked horrific and it is a wonderful miracle that no one was hurt. As purely a learning tool for us all I do agree with #1 and #3 of Mikes. #2 I am not sure I know enough about seeing currents to comment - only know what they feel like.

    I know it is easy sitting in an armchair to spot the issues and there is no judgement, but to add to the learning component, I would say that Dad (who granted was himself very worried and concerned) after surfacing did not inflate his BC and looks like he is struggling to stay on the surface I know he wants to get his son back down but son is panicking and Dad would have been in a better position to help if he was bouyant. Also his reg spends a lot of time out of his mouth and granted he is talking to his son but at one point he actually submerges without his reg. Aspirating water at that point would have not been a good thing.

    Thank you for sharing this valuable learning tool
     
  15. scurbyduck

    scurbyduck Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: michigan
    22
    19
    0
    Yes away from the wall and up, it took me 30 seconds to make it 10ft. I added air to both bcd's and kicked like hell, there were bubbles everywhere and I couldn't see anything, It felt like we weren't making it anywhere, checked my gauge and it read 80ft "oh **** time to put on brakes" spent the rest of the time trying to bleed both bcd's with one hand on the camera guy (my son) and one hand operating the bcds I couldn't keep up with bleeding the bcds down and was trying to flare but it seemed like all the bubbles were just pushing us up, then it got bright and we were on the surface way sooner than I wanted. All I could think about was we did that to fast and needed to go back and do a safety stop. We went back down to 30ft and I tried to make sense of what my computer was telling me, for some reason we had great difficulty maintaining buoyancy. I thought we were just jacked out of shape, after about 5 minutes of that, I decided to go to 15ft and complete the stop, things were so much easier then we just hovered at 15ft and my safety countdown meter said we needed 7 minute safety stop, I was a little puzzled by that but did the 7 minutes.

    ---------- Post added April 20th, 2012 at 11:39 AM ----------

    Yes that was me, I can see alot that could have been done differently.

    ---------- Post added April 20th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ----------

    Is it common to start a wall dive 200-300ft out in the blue?
     
    RubberDucky likes this.
  16. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,855
    113
    Nope. They try to drop you right on it or up current, depending. How much dive experience do you have S-duck?
     
  17. Craig66

    Craig66 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Jersey
    620
    284
    0
    No it is not. Usually it is started on the reef side and when everyone is ready the reef is traversed and the wall started. It seems that there was a lot of drifting going on at the surface and right from the outset the group were very spread out.
     
  18. scurbyduck

    scurbyduck Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: michigan
    22
    19
    0
    scurbyduck has about 30 dives in coz. first time i was droped out in the blue. thought it was wrong for the dm to tell us to go down when there was two still on the boat.
     
  19. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,855
    113
    Yeah, I like a panga boat with 6 to 8 diver max. We're all supposed to roll back into the water at the same time but it's usually a domino thing. Still we all get in within a minute of each other for a fast drop together. Sounds like your boat mates were unprepared so the DM wanted to get y'all down before you missed the site even if the captain had to reposition to drop them. Really, back rolls could have been done from that boat, I've done them higher - but maybe too much for that much. Everyone being ready to go at the same time is not hard, but often fails.

    Your son would do well to concentrate on strong buddy protocols, not just same ocean diving, or a 19 cf pony - but he is too new for that, needs to work on buddy diving.
     
  20. scurbyduck

    scurbyduck Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: michigan
    22
    19
    0
    Two days later we did a shore dive and it was clear he had learned alot from that. sometimes
    what we learn needs a value attached to it from experience.

    ---------- Post added April 20th, 2012 at 12:41 PM ----------

    We were not all ready, i thought the dm was jumping in to check the current. there wasnt room for everyone to be geared up at once.
     

Share This Page