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Thread: General Sherman Wreck fatality - South Carolina

 


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    General Sherman Wreck fatality - South Carolina

    Authorities investigate scuba diver's death - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather
    LITTLE RIVER (WMBF) - The Horry County Coroner's Office and the United States Coast Guard are investigating the death of a woman who was scuba diving Tuesday morning.
    Tamara Willard with the Horry County Coroner's Office says the woman was out on the General Sherman Wreck about six miles off the coast between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday.
    At this point it is unclear what lead to the woman's death.
    Willard adds that an autopsy will be conducted on Wednesday at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. Further investigation will need to take place in order to determine the details about what happened.
    Stick with WMBF News to provide those new developments as they become available.
    You can test the tanks you breathe or - dive on hope.
    Testing is safer...


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    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 by Shot a man in Reno...; July 25th, 2012 at 04:03 PM.
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    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
    According to a nurse who was on a deadly scuba diving excursion, inactivity by the crew and faulty medical equipment were involved.
    Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard says 43-year-old Karen Murphy of Massachusetts died while scuba diving in the ocean on Tuesday, and Registered Nurse and Carolina Forest resident Darlene Sterbenz was on that Coastal Scuba excursion.
    "I've been shaking all day," said Sterbenz on Wednesday.
    Sterbenz said around 9:50 a.m Tuesday, she, her friend and fellow Registered Nurse Debbie Warren and the crew of Coastal Scuba found Murphy floating in the ocean unresponsive.
    According to Sterbenz and Warren, a young male employee of Coastal Scuba pulled Murphy on to the boat and that'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 the boat's captain. "He said no."
    The Coast Guard said its team was called sometime after 10 a.m., at least ten minutes after Sterbenz said Murphy was found.
    Sterbenz said while they were trying to save Murphy's life on the boat, the divers Murphy had been diving with were still underwater.
    "I said you need to get everyone on board. Where is the Coast Guard?"
    Sterbenz also said the medical equipment on board was faulty with dry rotted emergency oxygen masks on board.
    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."
    Horry County EMS and the Coast Guard met the boat on the way back to shore.
    The coroner's office later pronounced Murphy dead.

    "I don't know if the outcome was going to be different, but I knew we would have had a better chance," said Sterbenz.
    On Wednesday, Coastal Scuba continued operations as usual.
    NewsChannel 15 asked Coastal Scuba's manager, Cameron Sebastian, about Sterbenz's allegations about the faulty equipment.
    He said they couldn't comment but they are cooperating with the investigation.
    "At this time, the U.S. Coast Guard is doing an investigation, and the coroner is doing an autopsy to determine what the possible cause of death was," said Sebastian.
    When asked if they had any other diving related deaths, Sebastian responded, "It happens occasionally in this business. If you've been in it long enough, it can happen from time to time."
    The coroner's office said finding the cause of death could take as long as 12-14 weeks.
    NewsChannel 15 asked the Coast Guard for information about Coastal Scuba and its records over the past five years, including if there have been any violations and if anyone else has died under their supervision.
    The Coast Guard is expected to turn over that information in the next few days.
    The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration issues small water craft advisories for commercial boats.
    NOAA said at the time of the accident it advised boats to exercise with caution with waves four to five feet high.
    You can test the tanks you breathe or - dive on hope.
    Testing is safer...


    Great news for vacation divers who cannot talk themselves into buying a personal CO tank tester!

    >> Rent one for a week or longer here <<

    Yeah it's just the air we breath - at depth!


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    Quote Originally Posted by DandyDon View Post
    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
    Oh Boy
    "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of forever". Jacques Cousteau
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    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...

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    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?"
    Mike

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    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.
    "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of forever". Jacques Cousteau
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    "The best time of day to dive is after dark". AfterDark
    "You know, three-fifths of the world is covered by the sea, and how little most of us know about that underwater world. Go below with us again next week". Huh? . "For another thrilling adventure in Sea Hunt." Lloyd Bridges

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    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.
    Quero and AfterDark like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    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?"
    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.

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    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.
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