Scary OW certification weekend

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by mr_adrian70, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. mr_adrian70

    mr_adrian70 Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Albuquerque
    Had some scary Open Water certification experiences this weekend. After a long four weekends of classroom, and pool training it was finally time for me to get certified this weekend. We all met at a place called Blue Hole in Santa Rosa NM. Its a 8o foot sinkhole with crystal clear waters that alot of people go to out here go to get their OW certification.

    The first mishap happened on our first dive Saturday. We were about 40ft down were after we demonstrated our 7 basic skills we took a tour around the hole. I was cruising around enjoying myself when i decided to check my depth and see how much air i had used. When i grab my guage to look at it all of a sudden air starts spewing where the hose attaches to the SPG. I grab my instructors attention, and show him what was happening. He tried to fix it underwater but was unable to. I was quickly losing all my air! My SPG showed i had about 500 psi left. Instructor signaled everyone to start going up. I ended up having to air share with my instructor, and we went up to the surface after making a safety stop. When we got back up my air tank was completely dry. I must admit this was a little scary. Air sharing was something we had practiced in the pool, and here we were having a very real emergency where air sharing was a necessity. We replaced my regulator, and made 2 more dives Saturday without another incident. I really enjoyed myself after that one mishap.

    The really terrifying incidents happened on Sunday. We went down again to about 30ft and practiced the skill where the instructor turns off your air, and you swim like crazy to the surface, and manually inflate your BC. The drill went well, and afterwards we all swam around the hole again at about 50ft. Another instructor had placed little plastic eggs on ledges in the wall in various locations for fun. So we all swam around Looking for these eggs. There were a couple of times when i tried to pick up an egg and ended up dropping them. The first time i dropped one i was able to swim down hard, and grab it before it fell to the bottom. The 2nd time i dropped one i swam down hard to try and get it but realized i was going too deep so i gave up, and just let it drop. I then came back up to where everyone else was. I felt exerted after that last sprint and was trying to continue swiming along with the group, but i just couldnt slow down my breathing after sprinting down to save that last egg. I started taking really big breaths, and i just couldnt seem to get enough air in my lungs. I started hypervenilating bad! I knew something was really wrong, and i needed to try to slow down my breathing, but despite my efforts i just couldnt catch my breath. It felt like a boa constrictor was wrapped around my chest, and squeezing the life outa me.
    It was then that panic set in! I couldnt breathe, and i couldnt take it anymore! I seriously felt like i was going to die! I bolted to the surface as quick as i could! Nitrogeon be damned i had to breathe! When i got the surface i still was hypervenilating horribly but managed to inflate my bc and swim to the side. Some people rushed over and tried to help me. I felt like i was going to pass out. They helped me remove my equipment and that enabled me to breathe a little better. But then all this stuff started coming out of my lungs! I started coughing uncontrolably, and spitting out all this foamy pink tinged phlem. I think the pink tint must have been blood. My lungs felt raw. I wasnt congested so i dont know where all this stuff i was coughing up was coming from, but was sure coughing up alot! An instuctor who came up shortly after me took me back, and gave me O2 and after alot more coughing and hacking i started to feel better.

    I still had some skills to complete in order to be certified, and since i was feeling better i went down to the water again to complete them. One of the skills was just having all my equipment on and snorkeling around the hole. I was feeling better until i got back in the water! I got about 10ft out, with my mask in the water,able to see where my trumatic experience had happened, and my lungs started feeling like that had been rubbed raw with sandpaper again. I knew i wasnt going to be able to make it around the hole and started breathing fast and shallow again. Before i knew it that boa constrictor had come back and was squeezing all the breath outa me! I couldnt catch my breath, was hypervenilating really bad, and panicking. My instructor came over to me and managed to calm me down, and slow down my breathing some. He took off my weight belt, and loosened up my BC to releave some of the pressure i felt around my chest. It was a real struggle but i managed to snorkel the rest of the way. I then managed to do 3 more short buddy tows. With 2 guys helping to keep me calm , and breathing slowly i struggled but still manged to complete my last skill of removing my BC at the surface, and putting it back on. I made it! I went through pure terror, and hell, but im now a certified scuba diver! Barely made it through, but mission was still accomplished! My lungs are still sore, but im not coughing like i was so hopefully ill be fine. It was quite the weekend!
    Mark Derail likes this.
  2. DukeAMO

    DukeAMO Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: North Carolina, United States
    Please call DAN! It sounds to me like this could be something serious.
    Mark Derail likes this.
  3. gcarter

    gcarter Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    See a doctor. Seriously.
  4. BigBubbaJ

    BigBubbaJ Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado, USA
    Hi Adrian,

    I'm from Colorado and have done many dives at the blue hole.
    I'm glad you're alright. Based on my experience, What you experienced after your panicked ascent sounds like dcs to me. I'm shocked that after this your instructor let you back into to the water.
    I'm glad you're still having fun, and I'm no instructor, but this is not what it's all about.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  5. BigBubbaJ

    BigBubbaJ Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado, USA
    And yes, I agree... Call DAN and see a doctor ASAP.
  6. Scott

    Scott PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    ^^^^^^ Enough said.

    Welcome to ScubaBoard, sorry this had to be one of your first topics.
    We'll save the instructor errors for another day and forum.
  7. requin02

    requin02 Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    I really can not believe an instructor would let back in the water after a panic bolt to the surface, coughing pink foam and recieving O2. No way.

  8. tyesai

    tyesai Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Southern Spain
    I'm far from an alarmist but spitting and coughing "foamy pink tinged phlem" can't be good.

    Congrats on the cert though!

    I'd go to a doctor to BTW....
  9. Peter_C

    Peter_C Orca

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    The last time I saw foamy blood coming from someones mouth, they were dead.

    D.A.N. Emergency Hotline 1-919-684-9111
  10. RonFrank

    RonFrank Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
    That pink stuff was likely blood. You may have a lung expansion injury. Seek professional help ASAP.
  11. Selchie in LB

    Selchie in LB SoCal DIR

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Wakefield, RI USA
    Wow that is crazy! What the heck was the instructor thinking letting you back into the water even if only to snorkel!

    DCS is serious and it does sound like you had a lung injury.
  12. aquaregia

    aquaregia NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA
    I am extremely surprised that you managed to drain a tank with a failure on the HP line.
  13. koozemani

    koozemani Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    +1. Sounds like a lung injury.
  14. t-mac

    t-mac Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: VA, USA
    As said, seek medical help. It sounds like your over-exerted yourself chasing the egg, causing you to start over-breathing your regulator. Your description of a boa constrictor is exactly what it feels like. This is a very good lesson in why we need to take it easy diving and avoid exertion. It can induce panic, as you found out, and it can actually cause you to pass out underwater in extreme cases -- not good.

    Once you've talked to DAN and/or seen a doctor, please come back and tell us what they said.

    Congratulations on the cert!
  15. eelnoraa

    eelnoraa DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco Bay Area
    On top of letting your back in after O2 treatment, turning tank valve off and do CESA in OW class doesnt sound right to me either.

    Anyway, glad you are OK. But seek professional help for sure
    jmneill and SubMariner like this.
  16. japan-diver

    japan-diver Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Okinawa, Japan
    There are so many things wrong with this post that I am scared to comment. If an instructor let you back in the water after coughing up blood to do anything he should loose his instructor card and worse. You need to get checked out by a doctor ASAP- hopefully someone who knows a bit about diving as it is very possible you suffered a pulmonary embolism - at the time you should have been taken to the hospital upon surfacing. I do not know of any agency that has a skill where the instructor turns your air off and you swim to the surface and I have been teaching scuba for over 17 years full time for a variety of agencies.
  17. jar546

    jar546 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: South Florida
    I'm still stuck on that part, let alone the lung expansion injury. Who teaches to "swim like crazy to the surface"

    This is one reason we don't leave 25' until after all skills are completed for certification
  18. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

    # of Dives:
    Location: Woodinville, WA
    Does anybody else think this story doesn't quite ring true?

    To begin with, a HP hose leak can't empty a tank the way the OP describes. HP hose leaks leak very little volume. If the OP had 500 psi when he saw the leak, and came up on someone else's gas, he wouldn't have had an empty tank at the surface. Look at Curt Bowen's numbers on leak rates: Life Ending Seconds • ADVANCED DIVER MAGAZINE • By Curt Bowen An HP orifice leak emptied about .9 cf/min; if the OP was an on Al80 with 500 psi, he had about 12.5 cf in his tank, and therefore had at least 13 or more minutes before the tank would have been empty from the leak.

    And as bad as I think dive instruction can be, I simply cannot imagine an instructor being callous enough to ignore a student who a) panicked; b) did an uncontrolled ascent, and c) ended up on the surface coughing up pink foam. This sounds like a case of immersion pulmonary edema, causing dyspnea at depth, but it could conceivably be pulmonary barotrauma. I have seen instructors abort a dive and refuse to allow a student back in the water for a nosebleed. I have a difficult time imagining an instructor allowing a student who had to be placed on oxygen to reenter the water.

    Something just doesn't smell right here.
  19. jar546

    jar546 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: South Florida
    My suspicion also

    If it were on my forum I would probably do an IP address crosscheck out of curiosity
    4sak3n likes this.
  20. Capt Scotty

    Capt Scotty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: the "Keys"
    Too many things wrong with this post on so many levels...........As a instructor would you sign this card? As a customer is this guy really a instructor?
    Wookie and 4sak3n like this.

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