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Thread: Three divers lose their lives at Chac Mool in Riviera Maya. 2 Brazillian, 1 Spaniard

 


  1. #191
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    -my understanding is that when you go diving in a cenote you will have a view of the sky, no overhead environment
    No, this is incorrect. You will be able to see ambient light SOMEWHERE, but it is often quite a ways behind you, and you are most definitely under a rock overhead. In addition, the cenotes are formed when the roof of the underwater conduit falls in, so the entrance to the water is often at the bottom of a hole of sorts in the rock. This means that, as the afternoon wears on, less and less light gets into the area where the entrance is, and that "ambient light" gets weaker. There is no such thing as a "cavern dive" at night, by definition, because there IS no ambient light to orient you. In practice, in late afternoon, some caverns approach this anyway. Someone not cavern-trained would be entirely unaware of this particular increase in risk.
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  2. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4e View Post
    what the Brazilians thought is pure speculation, we will never know what they thought and what they were told
    please correct me if i'm wrong
    -you need more than OW certification to go diving where there's an overhead environment
    -my understanding is that when you go diving in a cenote you will have a view of the sky, no overhead environment
    Nope. You should be able to see daylight and be able to get to that area, but facing the other direction - it can be pretty dark and confusing.

    now if that is true why where they so far inside the cavern?
    other question is why did they accept to go so late in the day?
    See your first comment quoted above. On my 2 different times to dive cenotes, we took 2 tanks each, with the guide diving the same pair of doubles for the 2 dives, the rest of us changing tanks for the second dive - but this was their third of the day I think. I have to wonder if they started this one all with partial tanks, perhaps thinking that all this was just too cool so they just had to do one more little one - but thought they'd be okay for a short dive?

    Thinking back, I just do not remember a line - but maybe I was following my camera much too much and was severely distracted. Today, I would certainly want to make sure I knew where it was. When you get down to the Yucatan, see out a reputable operator & Instructor, do some cenote dives, and make sure you do them safely.

    TSandM summed it up pretty well in case you missed it...
    Quote Originally Posted by TSandM View Post
    We'll never know. Maybe the guide offered a "special tour", because the divers seemed to have such good skills. Maybe the divers offered the guide a "special tip" if he would take them somewhere nobody else gets to go. Maybe the guide had a brain fart and ended up on the cave line by accident. Maybe he chased a freaked out diver who was bolting the wrong way, and they all ended up in the cave. We don't know, and we will never know.

    What I do know is that it is the job of a cavern guide to take untrained divers on a safe swim around the cavern line. The cavern lines are often gold line (which is rare in other parts of the cave in MX) and the number of systems used for cavern tours is limited, so it is quite possible for the guides to know those dives very, very well. One of the reasons the ratio is 1:4 is to make sure that the guides CAN retain control of their clients, and with only two divers, it really should have been possible. It is very difficult for me to see a way that this accident happened without some deliberate violation of the rules on the part of the guide, and he was the only person in the group with a professional responsibility to ensure that the tour was executed safely.
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  3. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4e View Post
    what the Brazilians thought is pure speculation, we will never know what they thought and what they were told
    the point is no matter who you think you diving with why would you go beyond the skull-and-crossbones sign, its universally known what it means

    Everything in this thread is speculation and assumptions. It is really all we have to go on. You even speculate below. However, I think it is a safe assumption that the divers trusted their guide to some level. Once you are in some of these cenotes and you have lights going, it can be hard to distinguish the cavern from the cave. Skull & Crossbones signs are ignored all the time. Many people have the "That does not apply to me, I am with a trained guide" attitude.

    please correct me if i'm wrong
    -you need more than OW certification to go diving where there's an overhead environment
    -my understanding is that when you go diving in a cenote you will have a view of the sky, no overhead environment

    Well, you should IMO. However, on cenote dives, typical rules do not count. You will have no view of the sky, you might not even have an open area above you, it will be just rock. You should however be able to see visible light from the entrance at all times.

    now if that is true why where they so far inside the cavern?
    other question is why did they accept to go so late in the day?

    The tour is inside the cavern. They were inside the cave. I can not answer your questions though. No one will ever know.


    it is very unfortunate that our society has taught us to be ignorant and complacent and blindly trust someone else with our own life because we can turn around and sue them if something goes wrong
    the internet has everything imaginable and those that wish to be informed will have no trouble educating themselves


    agreed


    what i am getting at is that there was a point in that dive when the two Brazilians should have recognized that they are headed to an area that is off limits and had a choice to call the dive
    of course this is still all speculation and we will never know the truth unfortunately
    i strongly believe that everyone should continue to exercise their own judgement no matter how qualified you think the guide is, after all is your own life on the line

    You are right. That point might not have been until they actually turned around. We do not know what was briefed or planned for this dive.

    please understand that i am in no way trying to be a smart a**, just want to educate myself and express my own opinions in the process

    Whatever smart ass.


    ---------- Post added May 8th, 2012 at 01:39 PM ----------

    Well, it looks like everyone beat me to the punch on that last post. Dammit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pez de Diablo View Post
    blah blah blah blah He was a great guide, because of what???? The Tacos you had, blah blah blah blah
    My guide better find some good damn tacos! Dammit, now I want tacos. Dammit, now I miss my wife (she makes great tacos). Dammit.
    Last edited by JamesK; May 8th, 2012 at 03:28 PM.
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  4. #194
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    Before we make a recommendation for a guide or an instructor, know what we are basing the recommendation on. He was a great guide, because of what???? The Tacos you had, because they came across as an expert, because they set up your gear, because you had a great dive??? The recommendation is based on your experience with that person. What we need is a check list when we make a recommendation:

    Was a dive brief completed and did it contain all the points that a thorough brief should have (or was it about 15 seconds)?
    Was the predive safety check preformed?
    5 point descent?
    I've been jumped on before for going into every thread where people ask about cavern tours, and making the same few recommendations. But there's a reason for that -- I know the people I recommend. I have dived with them, or taken classes from them, and I know who they are and how they think about cave diving and professionalism. I want people to have fun, but more than that, I want them to be SAFE. Which is why I also say, over and over again, that these tours are not for brand new OW divers. And I've taken flack from people who run tours for saying that, but if most of your attention is on the sheer act of diving itself, how are you going to be able to watch your guide and the line and stay out of the silt and monitor your gas . . . at least if you run out on a reef dive, you have the possibility of a CESA!

    These tours are very safe, if the divers aren't complete novices and approach the dive respectfully, and if the guides are prudent and responsible. But those are all necessary conditions.
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    So would I be wrong for saying Dennis (Pez de Diablo) was a great guide when he took us to Dos Ojos in 2006 even though he didn't even offer us tacos?

    I think this thread has about run its course, but I would just add my voice to those stating that I don't believe most divers in this situation would voluntarily pass a skull and crossbones or grim reaper sign without being led there by somebody they trusted. Again, everything is speculation and we will never ever know the truth, but the profile of the divers just doesn't say daredevil to me, so I can't picture them leaving the guide to do it on their own.
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  6. #196
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    thanks everyone for the replies, definitely learned some interesting things from all of them
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    Concerning the "law" diving together means a "risk community". If there is one in the group, who has disproportionate more experience + diving degree + leading function he has then also disproportionate more responsibility for the others - this means EVEN if the unexperienced divers AGREED to an unsafe (cave-)diving plan before entering the cave, the experienced diver would be responsible for an accident of the unexperienced divers.
    There was one sentencing of an experienced diver, after he was diving with an unexperienced woman. He told her (= a bit anxious of depth) to stay on a 6m level, he would go to 30m quickliy, after returning he would catch her and together they would finish the dive. She AGREED and steyed at 6m, but after returning from 30m the experienced diver could not find her anymore - she was drowned. And even she agreed prior to the dive - the experienced diver was sentenced.

    This comment only for law understanding from european standard - but this 3 victim accident is sad enough....

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRadke View Post
    There is a least one spot with a skull and crossbones, do not proceed further sign. If they went there, all bets are off.
    This is the cave entrance they entered. Photo taken on May 5, 2012 when the Chac Mool was reopened. Now all the guides are required to fill responsibility waivers by the owner.
    As I learned from Louis who knew the late guide, this Spanish guide should have never taken these two poor Brazilians into the cave, with no cave certification, no special equipment... A pure lethal stupidity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantfan View Post
    From my experience just a couple of months ago.... it would be hard not to notice that you were going past the skull and cross bones signs.... also they should have been able to see the yellow guide line the entire time except for going thru the halocline if it was stirred up enough (I was the 4th person thru and it was quite blurry). I find it hard to believe that they had no idea they were off the beaten path. Just my opinion but I guess anything could have happened.
    OW divers routinely have no idea what is going on during the course of the dive and become focused on the wrong details and miss things. If they were relatively new divers, I could find it plausible that they would have swum over the halocline area where the sign is and done the visual jump without really knowing what they were doing (and it was a visual jump, so they wouldn't have needed to get down in the halocline there to find the start of the line and tie in).
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    Quote Originally Posted by AggieDiver View Post
    So would I be wrong for saying Dennis (Pez de Diablo) was a great guide when he took us to Dos Ojos in 2006 even though he didn't even offer us tacos?
    Depends. Did he do a 5-point decent?

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