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The reason why not much information on this incident has been made public is because we are allowing enough time for all of the family to be notified by next of kin, instead of rumor and hearsay on a forum or message board. If you are family of the victim and are looking for information On what happened, I would be happy to get you in touch with the family, or get permission from them to talk to you about it.
Published: July 19, 2011ST. CROIX - An elderly but experienced diver died over the weekend after having problems off St. Croix's north shore.
The man, who was visiting for a 10-day scuba vacation with his wife, lost consciousness as he tried to make his way back to the dive boat, eventually dying as people tried to revive him, some of those involved said.
Despite a quick response from instructors with St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures and the help of a nearby dive shop, the 82-year-old man died despite resurfacing along with his wife 12 minutes into the dive, said Bluewater Adventures owner Ed Buckley.
"Everybody worked together but, unfortunately, the outcome wasn't what we would have liked," he said.
The man and his wife were part of a group diving a site called "Vertigo" off St. Croix's north shore Saturday around 10:30 a.m. - a steep section of The Wall off Annaly Bay that drops off abruptly into the deep just to the west of Carambola Beach Resort.
Shortly after the dive began, the man and his wife both surfaced and began swimming back to the boat, Buckley said.
"The boat saw him and one of the crew with the boat saw that it looked like they were swimming back," he said. "When she got there, they were both conscious, although he was kind of in and out of it."
"At some point during that tow back was the point when he started to convulse and became unresponsive," Buckley said.
The instructor and wife finished towing the man back to the boat and brought him on board, where off-duty nurses who were on the drive trip began performing CPR, he said. As instructors in the water relayed a signal to the remaining divers that they had to leave, the crew on board radioed in to the Cane Bay Dive Shop seeking assistance.
St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, based out of Christiansted harbor, needed a quicker way to get the man to an ambulance, so they asked Cane Bay Dive Shop owner Hal Rosbach to call 911 and help transfer the man to shore.
Rosbach was working on gear at his shop around 11 a.m. when the radio crackled with the request, he said.
"They had an unresponsive diver on their boat and they needed to get him to ambulance as soon as possible," Rosbach said. The dive boat drew too much water to make it in to Cane Bay, so Rosbach launched one of his 20-foot inflatable boats to bring the man to shore where the ambulance would arrive
."I called the ambulance before I launched the boat," he said. "We went out and got the guy and went on to my boat. My crew kept doing the CPR."
But by then the man did not appear to have any vital signs, Rosbach said. "He was pretty much gone by the time he got here."Emergency medical technicians responded shortly after and transferred the man to Luis Hospital, officials said.
From the time Rosbach received the radio request to the time EMTs arrived, he estimated that perhaps 25 minutes had passed.Shortly after the dive boat returned to Christiansted harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived to investigate, Buckley said.
No one with the local government agencies would release the victim's name Monday. And Buckley, who knew the victim, preferred to leave that to the authorities.
And while the man was elderly, he had been diving with Bluewater Adventures throughout the week and had a great deal of experience, Buckley said.
"He actually works in the industry, and he's been diving for a long time," he said. Buckley met the victim recently at a dive show, where he was promoting a new weighting system for divers. It was then that he and his wife decided to visit for a 10-day, dive-oriented visit, Buckley said.
Rosbach, who discovered the site, described Vertigo as "an extremely advanced dive and a deeper dive."
"It's like an overhang like a cliff and then the bottom comes out of it and that's why we call it Vertigo, because the bottom goes out from under you," he said.
No one with the Coast Guard returned calls Monday.- Contact Daniel Shea at 774-8772 ext. 457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.