General Sherman Wreck fatality - South Carolina

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by DandyDon, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,853
    113
    Authorities investigate scuba diver's death - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather
     
  2. Shot a man in Reno...

    Shot a man in Reno... Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Connecticut, USA
    17
    14
    0
    Before a huge amount of speculation begins, the Sherman is a civil war era (former blockader or blockade runner, depending on your source) that sank in 1874. It is very deteriorated and generally listed as being at a depth of 47-52ft.

    Coastal Scuba of Myrtle Beach, SC did have a dive scheduled for the Sherman yesterday (according to their website).

    UPDATE from Myrtle Beach Online
    Woman identified in Little River diving death investigation

    By Amanda Kelley - akelley@thesunnews.com
    The death of a 43-year-old Massachusetts scuba diver remains under investigation Wednesday. Karen Murphy was found about six miles off the coast of Little River at the General Sherman Wreck site Tuesday, said Tamara Willard, Horry County Deputy Coroner. There’s no reason to believe her death is suspicious and there were no signs of trauma, Willard said.

    Murphy was pronounced dead at Seacoast Medical Center after being found unresponsive in the water around 10 a.m. Tuesday, Willard said. Following a Wednesday morning autopsy though, Willard said the cause of death is still not known and may take longer than normal to determine. A toxicology screening and other tests will be done in an effort to determine what happened to Murphy. There are several possibilities involved with a scuba diving accident and Willard said she couldn’t pinpoint one cause without further testing.
    The autopsy report may take more than the normal 12 weeks to complete, she said.
    Murphy was with a group on a chartered dive boat, but no information about the group or the boat was immediately available.The U.S. Coast Guard is also investigating. The Coast Guard office in Georgetown deferred comment about the investigation to a spokesman in Charleston who did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday.

     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  3. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,853
    113
    One of the other divers on that trip is placing some blame on the Operator...

    Nurse says deadly scuba accident possibly avoidable : News : CarolinaLive.com
     
  4. AfterDark

    AfterDark Orca

    # of Dives:
    Location: Rhode Island,USA
    7,082
    2,623
    113
  5. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Manta Ray

    1,013
    576
    113
    makes you want to go out and empty/restock the first aid kit..... and maybe run some drills. Really sad for all involved, the crew may or may not have been able to change the outcome, but they are going to have to live with the memory of all they didn't do...
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Great White

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    3,952
    2,710
    0
    Not to say the operator shouldn't have up to date oxygen equipment on board, but what does it have to do with saving this woman's life? She was unresponsive, found floating on the surface, they were obviously doing CPR to her, not treating her for DCS, if she never revived, never started breathing what did the oxygen equipment have to do with anything?

    Real blame would be found by asking the usual question "Where was her buddy?"
     
  7. AfterDark

    AfterDark Orca

    # of Dives:
    Location: Rhode Island,USA
    7,082
    2,623
    113
    I think having to be asked a few times to call the CG is more unsettling than the O2. What was the capt waiting for, the movie to have a happy ending? He should have been calling the CG on his own as soon as she was found. Sounds to me like the capt and crew were standing around gazing at their navels.
    “According to Sterbenz andWarren, a young male employee of Coastal Scuba pulled Murphy on to the boat andthat's when Sterbenz and Warren started trying to revive her.
    But Sterbenz said that's when Coastal Scuba's crew failed to act.
    "I said did you call the Coast Guard?" she said she barked to theboat's captain. "He said no."
    The Coast Guard said its team was called sometime after 10 a.m., at least tenminutes after Sterbenz said Murphy was found.
    Sterbenz said while they were trying to save Murphy's life on the boat, thedivers Murphy had been diving with were still underwater.
    "I said you need to get everyone on board. Where is the Coast Guard?"

    Also did one of the crew just get done smoking a fatty?

    “As for the tanks that attach to it, Sterbenz said the first was empty and an employee threw the other overboard.
    "Poor young man kind of freaked out," said Sterbenz. "He said it's going to blow, and he threw the oxygen overboard."


    These things probably didn’t contribute to her
    death but what if she had been close to death? The capt is playing pocket pool and the crew is freaking out. Not much help.
     
    Stephan Mc likes this.
  8. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    2,683
    728
    0
    Not that anything could probably have been done In this situation, with or without oxygen.
    I have found that good operators generally show everybody where the oxygen is before the start of a trip and that it's functioning. I think it's actually a matter of pride with good Captains to show that they have a good oxygen set-up.
    As a physician, I usually will ask if they don't show it off. I want to know, in the case of an emergency, where the stuff is. I also carry a pocket mask in my bag.
    I've only been on one trip where I needed to use the oxygen. Thankfully, it was a fairly mild case of DCS. Unfortunately, we were way the heck out at Wolf Island in the Galapegos. It was a long day to get back to a chamber. I was so glad that it wasn't a more serious DCS hit. Apparently, they don't have any type of Life Flight system in the Galapegos so if you take a hit, you're in for a long, long boat ride to get to the chamber.
    Anyway, I would recommend asking to see the oxygen and first aid kit when starting a trip, if you know how to use it. At least you can verify that it's on board, functioning and know where it is.
     
    AfterDark and Quero like this.
  9. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Manta Ray

    1,013
    576
    113
    a fair question. But I would think giving O2 with a resusitation bag would have been valuable. I am not a paramedic, but if she had reduced lung volume as a result of fluid or an embolism, more O2 in that reduced volume would be valuable if there was any hope at all. From the water conditions reported, she may have gotten hammered by the boat hull, but that is just a random guess. There are no reports from the other people in the water. having two nurses on board certainly increased this womans chances for survival and quick responces by the crew would have helped. But, like I said above it might not have changed anything. If she had a massive stroke in the water nobody was going to save her, however, I would hate to be one of the crew and have to go to bed thinking about what I did or didn't do. Same thing goes for the buddy. Twelve weeks is a long time to mull over your mistakes without resolution.
     
  10. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

    # of Dives:
    Location: Woodinville, WA
    36,352
    13,489
    0
    Whether the diver could have been resuscitated or not, I think this is a very cautionary tale for boat operators. This safety equipment will, with any luck, NEVER need to be used -- but when it is needed, it simply has to be functional. I'm surprised that, for a license, there is no requirement that the O2 setup be checked once a year, and the masks replaced and the bottles filled if necessary. But perhaps the boat rules are written primarily for boats where no one gets off them on purpose.
     
    tracydr likes this.
  11. TechDeep

    TechDeep Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
    293
    108
    43
    Wow. I own property in North Myrtle, and I've been diving with that operator for 20 years, going back to when they were operating at a different location. I've dived that wreck quite a few times. The biggest issue I normally face is who is going to be my insta-buddy as no one else in my family dives at the moment. I'm a bit surprised to hear that they would go out during a small craft advisory. In all the years I've been diving with them, I have never seen them do that. There have been times that they said no go when I wish they would have gone, but one can never be sure of all the things that may figure into that descision on any given day

    I have always seen them as kind of a "no frills" operation for divers who just want to dive and aren't overly concerned about being pampered, which I would include myself in that group. The trade off being that the cost has always been kept reasonable in my opinion. Most of the complaints I've heard over the years have been about things that I would call "superficial".

    Before I get jumped on, I in no way condone not having the proper safety gear on board, and properly maintained. There is no excuse for that, and it will catch up to you eventually. I have never really seen anyone in the crew on the dives I've been on that concerned me, but I've never had anything like this happen on any dive I've been on with them. All there divemasters and boat captains appeared to be more than capable, or I wouldn't have continued with them. I guess you just never know how someone is going to react until something like this happens. The safety equipment has got to be there and be maintained, and if that results in having to charge more per dive, so be it.

    I've know Cameron for a long time, he has divemastered on some of my dives with them back in the 90's. Business concerns aside, I suspect this will be tough to deal with on a personal level if they in fact let things slide that they shouldn't have, and if they have been using divemasters and or captains that perhaps they shouldn't have been using. I'm just saying that in my own experiences with them, I never saw any evidence of that. I'm just relating personal experience, but I would not argue with the nurses on board. I'm not doubting for a minute that they saw what they said they saw.

    Condolences to the young ladies family.
     
    CT-Rich likes this.
  12. Mike

    Mike Great White

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    3,952
    2,710
    0
    This is the evidence of the point I've made for years and years that stupid is as stupid does and cheap is as cheap does. It's absolutely a certainty in my mind that a cheap dive operation cuts corners everywhere, maintenance and safety are without a doubt part of the cost cutting areas that happen, those simply are a victim of any operation that operates on a shoe string and has to make financial decisions based on where to spend the small amount of dollars on overhead. They may not totally ignore safety, but as in the case shown here, safety concerns may get placed on the back burner temporarily, such as we need to fix the motor on one boat, a bad bilge pump on another and we need to recharge the oxygen on 2 boats, well lets fix the motor now because we can't take divers out without a motor and make any money, see if we can get the bilge pump working without replacing it and we will deal with the oxygen maybe next month or the month after, let me see who things go with the money. This is the stuff that goes on and the public and their customer never know about it until something unusual happens such as an accident. Avoid shoe string operations like the plague unless you're prepared to accept that what you don't see may come back to bite you.

    I'll jump off the soap box now.
     
  13. Divin'Hoosier

    Divin'Hoosier Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Central Indiana
    4,564
    288
    83
    I've been on that exact dive, in all of 3-5' of viz, with that operator. I found the wreck when I landed on it.

    I find this sad but not surprising. They were far from proficient nor did they enlist confidence.
     
  14. nofish

    nofish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: florence sc.
    32
    6
    0
    my thing with this is were was the dm ? Im to go out wih them I think that i will will have to to pass.
     
  15. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    45,259
    2,853
    113
    From the way the news reporter conveyed the nurse's story, it sounds like maybe they tried tone O2 tanks and found it empty (been there, done that!), so the crew member tried the next one by just opening it, and when it starting expelling pure O2 - someone had the sense to tell him to throw it overboard before it'd explode.
    Many dive Ops do not put a DM in the water, and many who do still do not run DM lead dives. You need to ask if that's important. Even on DM lead dives, I figure my bud & I are responsible for us.
     
  16. nofish

    nofish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: florence sc.
    32
    6
    0
    You may be right. But Ive been out with them before and seen divers in trouble and russ was all over it. the crew was great. The bottom line it was a tragedy and my heart goes out to the family. I cannot understand how that the crew did not act and had to be told what needed to done. What no need for emgerancy action plan??
     
  17. kevziz

    kevziz Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Owensboro, Kentucky
    44
    11
    0
    I was on the boat diving with my wife when this accident occured. Divin'Hoosier, I have to say this was the exact conditions at that time. I had read the Sherman was an easy dive, but the viz was horrible (10ft at best) and there was a decent current. This was my first experience with the operator and I have to say...horrible even before the accident. Russ (Capt.), was way to militaristic. I felt like I needed to stand at attention as I did back in my military days. There's no pampering, and then there's just down right bad service. There was no checking on the divers on the boat. While being left alone might work for some divers, others need to be watched and assisted. As a DM myself, I like to ensure everyone is in working order prior to a dive. The dive briefing didn't ever mention safety including a diver recall. (Briefing was a military speech about how to board the vessel in which the Capt. repeated five times so the less smart divers might understand) There was only one DM aboard, with about 20 divers. There was a young rescue diver who was reported to be one of the crew. When my wife and I splashed in and started heading towards the anchor line, the tie in ran up towards the bow of the boat, and not down towards the anchor line. My wife and I let go and kicked to the anchor line due to following the tie in would have taken us way to close the bow of the boat and possibly hit. Since there was no recall procedure, the DM and rescue diver had to enter the water to get divers back on board leaving the Capt. to handle multiple issues at once. Capt. was assisting with CPR when I boarded the vessel. I have to back up the nurses story as the crew was very unprepared and struggled during the accident. Once aboard, my wife and I, along with three nurses on board provided CPR until the Coast Guard boarded the vessel. We attempted to provide O2 with no luck as the O2 didn't work. Apparently one of the crew threw one of the bottles of O2 of the boat. I really don't know if the O2 would have helped, but it wouldn't have hurt either.

    I have thought long and hard about posting something negative about an operator. It can be tough business and not every day can be a good day. However, I mentioned to my wife prior to the accident how bad the operator was, and that a compliant might even be in order. After the accident, and the way the operator has handled things, I have to say I am down right mad at this point. Had a less militaristic briefing (with a diver recall procedure), not such a rush in the water (with better checks of divers entering the water), better rigging of the lines prevented the accident? That's a tough call, but deserves thought at least. Had there been O2 on board would it have made a difference? Again, tough call, but deserves thought.

    Unfortunately, at a diver's expense, lessons can be learned from this accident and hopefully not repeated by this operator in the future. I hope that her family understands that we did the best we could in attempting to save her, and that our prayers go out to them.
     
  18. ahava

    ahava Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    219
    28
    0
    Was there a diver even involved in this accident?? Haven't heard one thing about the situation that caused all of this. So far the only thing I have heard is about the dive operation and what they did or did not do. Personal responsibiltiy?? Where's the buddy? I have not dove with this operator,and maybe they were lacking, but everyone is sure quick to jump on them without a single mention of how the diver got into this situation.
    Condolences to this lady and her family.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
    Mike and TechDeep like this.
  19. openmindOW

    openmindOW Scuba Instructor

    1,465
    127
    0
    I once dove off a NC vessel when there was an incident. The O2 bottle was small and almost empty. Fortunately, no one died.

    But the next several times I dove off the NC coast, I brought my own O2 kit.
     
  20. kevziz

    kevziz Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Owensboro, Kentucky
    44
    11
    0
    Yes, there was a diver involved. The viz was very limited on the hang line (Carolina Rig). I couldn't make out my wife until she was at least almost an arms length away. Total speculation on my part, but it appears she lost her weight belt while on the hang line. Possibly hit by the boat. Again, pure speculation. Her dive buddy reported never seeing her make it down to the wreck, and it was reported she was only in the water for around 10 mins. The conditions were poor, so there are several possibilities of what could have gone wrong. Until there is a determination of the cause of death, and even then we might not know. The focus on the operator is due to the inadequacies of the operation.
     
    UnderSeaBumbleBee likes this.

Share This Page