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TwoBitTxn
April 30th, 2002, 09:54 AM
This came from the Dallas Morning news Monday. The story is full of problems and to me raises more questions than answers.

A woman making her first scuba diver outside a swimming pool drowned in Beaver Lake. The water temp was 62*F and she was found with a half a tank of air. Her boyfriend is quoted as saying she may have become tangled in some underwater branches. He stated teh water was really murky and he didn't think they should have been there. The class was from Tulsa Ok.

My questions:

Where was the dive master?
Where was her buddy?
Were they doing course work or were they pleasure diving?

Condolances to the family and friends.....

Tom

DivingGal
April 30th, 2002, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by Tom Vyles
This came from the Dallas Morning news Monday. The story is full of problems and to me raises more questions than answers.

A woman making her first scuba diver outside a swimming pool drowned in Beaver Lake. The water temp was 62*F and she was found with a half a tank of air. Her boyfriend is quoted as saying she may have become tangled in some underwater branches. He stated teh water was really murky and he didn't think they should have been there. The class was from Tulsa Ok.

My questions:

Where was the dive master?
Where was her buddy?
Were they doing course work or were they pleasure diving?

Condolances to the family and friends.....

Tom

I get the same questions when I read you excerpt. It's always sad to loose one of our own, no matter what the circumstances.

O-ring
April 30th, 2002, 10:39 AM
Beaver Lake: Officials seek answers in scuba diving death
BY ANDY DAVIS -ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
GARFIELD -- Sri Lestari's jobs in the oil industry took her from her homeland of Jakarta, Indonesia, to Scotland, Egypt and Australia. She had been snorkeling in the Bahamas, whitewater rafting in Colorado and hiking on the Ozark Highlands Trail.

The Tulsa engineer's latest adventure, scuba diving, turned tragic Saturday when she drowned during a class in the Indian Bow area of Beaver Lake.

Benton County sheriff's deputies and officials with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, which certified the diving school, are investigating the accident.

Lestari's boyfriend, Jonathan Stewart, still doesn't know exactly what happened, but he assigns some of the blame to cold, murky water and poor supervision by her instructors with Poseidon Adventures in Tulsa.

Poseidon owner Randy Piper referred questions about the accident to the diving instructor's association. Representatives of the association didn't return calls Monday.

Piper said it was his first fatal accident in the 20 years he's run a diving school.

"This was a terrible, unfortunate circumstance," he said. "The only way to avoid it is to hold somebody's hand."

Members of the Benton County dive team found Lestari, 33, in about 35 feet of water on Saturday afternoon. She had been in the water for about an hour, police said.

Her body was sent to the state Crime Laboratory for an autopsy. Her scuba equipment also will be tested at the Crime Laboratory, Brewster said.

Scuba diving drownings are rare, especially during training courses, said Joel Dobenbarger, a researcher with the Divers Action Network, a Durham, N.C., nonprofit organization that collects data on diving accidents.

Eighty to 100 people die in scuba accidents each year, he said. Of those, only a half-dozen die during certification courses, he said. Most deaths occur when tanks run out of air, he said.

Benton County's last scuba diving death was about seven years ago, Brewster said. He didn't recall whether it involved a class.

They had spent eight hours diving in a pool and had completed eight hours of classwork as part of the course. Saturday was their first day of open-water diving in a lake. They would have finished the course Sunday.

Stewart said he had misgivings about the class. The water was murky, with visibility of 9 to 10 feet, and chilly at 62 degrees. One of the 14 students refused to get back in the water after the first dive, he said. Another student remarked that she couldn't see any of the instructor's underwater signals.

Stewart said he remembers telling the student, " 'Yeah, we're not getting anything out of this, and in fact it might even be dangerous.'

"I don't think anyone wanted to be out there. No one seemed to be enjoying it."

Stewart said he and Lestari became tangled in branches at the bottom of the lake. He gave her a thumbs up signal, meaning that they should surface. She gave the same signal, meaning she understood, he said.

When Stewart surfaced, he said, he couldn't find Lestari. No instructors were in sight, so he had to search for about five minutes to tell one of them what had happened.

Teri Johnson, who owns Island Quest dive shop in Tulsa, said she's puzzled by the accident. The mouthpiece of a regulator doesn't fall out easily, and students are trained early in diving courses to put it back in when it does. Divers also have a backup regulator that uses a separate hose, she said.

It's easy to become disoriented in murky water, but divers are trained to follow their bubbles to the surface, she said. When divers become separated, they're trained to look for each other for one minute, then surface, she said.

"It's horrible," Johnson said. "This doesn't happen every day."

Professional Association of Diving Instructors guidelines call for one instructor and two assistant instructors to be present during a dive with 12 students, Johnson said. The Poseidon group had 14 students, an instructor, and an assistant instructor, Stewart said.

Johnson said instructors with her school usually keep an eye -- and often a hand -- on their students during each dive. The instructors only take one or two students at a time, depending on the water' visibility, she said.

"We definitely invade their personal space," she said. "We're never too far away."

But she added, "There's no requirement that says you have to do that."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. IMHO, looks like a bad situation to be holding OW class certification dives...low vis, students uneasy about the dive, etc...recipe for disaster

2. Seems like a brand-new, not highly-trained, OW student would be too task loaded, stressed-out, and now panicked by entanglement to be able to recover her reg or switch to her backup in that type of scenario...probably explains the half empty tanks - I bet reg was found out of mouth..

3. Buddy should have stuck around.

4. Where the hell were the instructor(s)?

devilfish
April 30th, 2002, 11:23 AM
Turns my stomach every time I hear something like that.
Besides, who are they kidding, 14 students, one instructor, and he is taking only one or two students at a time. Yeah right. Even if he took two at a time, that's 7 dives for the instructor to get done with one check out dive. That's 14 dives for the two dives in one day. On the average 20-30 min each trip, that's 7 hours underwater for the instructor. Add to that time to take the students our, bc check, adjustments, etc, OK. I don't believe it.
It doesn't add up. Someone's loved one died in pursuit of a hobby. Happens every weekend somewhere all the time. It's a shame.

MikeFerrara
April 30th, 2002, 11:28 AM
14 students is too many in 100 ft vis, IMO. With one DM, myself and six students I am maxed out with 20-30 foot vis. I hate to say it but I see classes being conducted like this often. We need to enforce the standards. Students need to be aware of the standards and speak up when things don't look right. Speaking for myself I will take action when I see instructors who can't dive commiting blatent standards violations. Even when you operate within standards and use good sense in reducing student to instructor ratios due to conditions things can happen quickly. In order to get an idea of how irrisponsible it is to have a large group in low vis imagine..... PADI standards dictate OW dive one is just a tour and each student must be under the direct supervision of the instructor. During the tour portion of dives 2 - 4 a DM or AI can lead the tour. With 14 in the water and 10 foot vis there is no way to position yourself so you can see let alone supervise the whole group. I hope the paper has the facts wrong as the papers tend to do but I see enough of this stuff to believe it.

Rick Murchison
April 30th, 2002, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by O-ring
Piper said it was his first fatal accident in the 20 years he's run a diving school.

"This was a terrible, unfortunate circumstance," he said. "The only way to avoid it is to hold somebody's hand."

Rule number one post accident - "DO NOT TALK TO THE PRESS!"
If he really said this, he's toast!
Trial Lawyer "Mr. Piper, if the only way to avoid it is to hold somebody's hand, who was assigned to hold the deceased's hand?... No one? Why not? You've already said it was the only way to avoid a mishap, and yet you took no steps to provide that only way..."
- and so forth -
Yep... he's toast.
Too bad.
Rick

ScubyDoo
April 30th, 2002, 12:10 PM
I too heard this terrible news. It hits a little close to home for me because I also was doing AOW certification dives in another lake in Arkansas this past weekend. Saturday was not an exceptional day......cloudy, light rain, and chilly, but it was not bad enough to call a dive. We dove Lake Ouachita which is in central Arkansas, while Beaver Lake (where the accident ocurred) is in NW Arkansas. I think the weather up there was very similar as its only about a 3 hour drive away.

I agree with earlier posts. It sounds like her buddy (also her boyfriend) failed to stay with her. During my dives this weekend I never lost sight of my buddy (vis was 15-20ft)

Where were the instructors? On OW swim arounds, the instructor usually leads the students who are followed by dive masters. Why didnt the dive masters recognize the situation?

I was fortunate in that during my AOW dives, there was also a class doing thier specialty in Rescue Diving. 5 of those in the class were EMT's with the Conway Fire Department. They actually practiced a rescue on Sunday that exactly matches what happened at Beaver Lake.

Our excursion was made up of:

4 AOW Students (including yours truly)
10 Rescue Diver students (including 4 EMT's)
3 Instructors
4 Divemasters

During my "deep" dive we had 4 students, 2 instructors, and 2 divemasters.........someone to watch each student personally!

My condolences to the family.

devilfish
April 30th, 2002, 12:48 PM
" Where were the instructors? On OW swim arounds, the instructor usually leads the students who are followed by dive masters. Why didnt the dive masters recognize the situation?"

That scenario happens too often. Instructor swims into abyss and hope the students will follow. Sure, DM closes the door, but in case of a problem the Instructor will not see it. What is the DM suposed to do, leave the students behind and chase down the Instructor to tell him/her?
Standards are clear, "direct supervision". I swim you follow is not direct supervision! Direct supervision is 100% visual and within arms reach all the time, not for a blink of an eye ever. Amazing how the standards are twisted.

dvleemin
April 30th, 2002, 01:02 PM
Wow,
Is that ever aweful. I can't believe her buddy left her though. Did he not know that you don't just give the thumbs up and race to the surface? How could he not be watching her, especially during the course? Did he panic? Ever in 10' vis its not difficult to see your buddy when's she 5' in front of you. Some of the most basic training involves being with your buddy.

Darryl

O-ring
April 30th, 2002, 01:06 PM
Remember, he was an OW student too and, although "trained" in buddy diving, had nowhere near the experience to be responsible for another life underwater. Besides, one has to question the quality of his training at this point given the description in the media account of the operation that was running the show.

I agree with you 100%, but I think most of the blame lies in the operation running their OW cert dives like this. A dive professional should have been there for the assist. IMHO, during an OW cert dive it should never take 5 minutes to find an instructor/asst. instructor/DM.

devilfish
April 30th, 2002, 01:13 PM
Even if they were buddy off and her buddy did see it, what is he supposed to do? So they were told about buddy systems, so what? Some agencies do not train any assists much less underwater or surface emergencies or rescues until after an advanced course. That makes a lot of sense, sombody had a bright idea about progression of training HA. Until that time they are only told to dive in buddy teams but are clueless what to do. If they would try to react, most likely they get themselves into trouble also.

dvleemin
April 30th, 2002, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by O-ring
Remember, he was an OW student too and, although "trained" in buddy diving, had nowhere near the experience to be responsible for another life underwater.

I agree with you 100%, but I think most of the blame lies in the operation running their OW cert dives like this. A dive professional should have been there for the assist. IMHO, during an OW cert dive it should never take 5 minutes to find an instructor/asst. instructor/DM.

I certainly aggree the blame should rest with the dive operation, and the instructors. I was just thinking back to when I did my OW with my at the time girlfriend. We were in similiar circumstances - temp about 60, vis a bit better about 20', although it was down to 10' pretty fast :) and extremely high altitude. I think there was 10 or 12 students and 1 instructor, and 2 assistent instructors. In any case, we went down to about 30'.

I know there would never be a reason I would asend without my buddy. From the depth, you could easily to a controlled ascent if you had to, so I cannot see any reason why you could leave your buddy down there. Maybe he paniced, I don't know - that might explain it. But to leave your buddy - even with little training I can't see how someone could do it.

Darryl

dvleemin
April 30th, 2002, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by devilfish
Even if they were buddy off and her buddy did see it, what is he supposed to do? So they were told about buddy systems, so what? Some agencies do not train any assists much less underwater or surface emergencies or rescues until after an advanced course. That makes a lot of sense, sombody had a bright idea about progression of training HA. Until that time they are only told to dive in buddy teams but are clueless what to do. If they would try to react, most likely they get themselves into trouble also.

I guess my thoughts were that you NEVER let your buddy out of your sight. So when asending, you assend together. Even with little training, that's something that was at least drilled into us.

That being said, what the heck were they doing an OW dive where there is a risk of entanglement? Thats incedibly foolish. If you want to panic a student, the best way I can think of is to get them tangled in something.

Darryl

O-ring
April 30th, 2002, 01:19 PM
I did my OW in the Bahamas and it was pretty much one on one...

scuba_adventurer
April 30th, 2002, 01:20 PM
That instructor is toast mainly for violating standards with 14 in the water, unless the report is wrong.

The PADI Police are on this one I am sure.

dvleemin
April 30th, 2002, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by scuba_adventurer
That instructor is toast mainly for violating standards with 14 in the water, unless the report is wrong.

The PADI Police are on this one I am sure.

And so is the dive shop if they authorizes the instructor/student ratio (well, their insurance premiums will go up anyways).

Darryl

ScubyDoo
April 30th, 2002, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by devilfish
Until that time they are only told to dive in buddy teams but are clueless what to do. If they would try to react, most likely they get themselves into trouble also.

That should not be the case. The article stated that the instructor referred questions to PADI. One can assume from that, that this was a PADI course. The PADI OW course curriculum specifically address' entanglement issues and what you should and should not do. From the story however, it doesnt appear as if her buddy even realized she was entangled. Upon realizing that she had not surfaced with him, he should have immediately descended to see what was wrong, and she should have remained calm until he returned, and assisted her to become untangled. Its possible they recieved poor training and didnt realize what they were supposed to do. Its hard to say where to point the finger here.

In my AOW Night Dive, I became entangled momentarily in some seagrass during our "out and back" navigation skill. It was dark and my light only illuminated a few feet in front of me and I swam right into it. I knew my buddy was right behind me (counting kick cycles). I knew I had plenty of air and could get out with no problem. I was more worried about losing my compass heading. I clawed my way out and resumed my heading successfully.

devilfish
April 30th, 2002, 02:20 PM
I know where to point the finger, and it's not the students and not even the Instructor. It's the system.
ScubyDoo, with all my respects, it's so easy to get cought up in "what I" or "what should" be done. I have mentioned on various posts here in the past that those that are on this forum are not the norm. The fact that those here on this forum are involved, active and interested shows that they are not the problem. But this is not the real world. There is a lot of bad stuff going on out there.
In this case I agree, the buddy probobly never saw her. Most likely he was preocupied with his own stress just blindly following.
Furthermore, "specifically addressing" a situation and "telling" what to do is a far cry from being able to do it. That's one of the problems in the system, too much videos, too many pictures, too much talk, not enough hands on. Trained?
I can show a video of what a wonderful skier I am, watching it does not make one a skier.

TexasMike
April 30th, 2002, 02:28 PM
Does anyone know if PADI (or other agencies for that matter) publish the results of investigations in matters such as this?

jbd
April 30th, 2002, 02:41 PM
TexasMike,
I seem to recall this being discussed in the past but I'm not sure where I would have heard about this. My recollection is that they(agencies) do publish the results but its usually after any and all court action is over with and the info is not for general consumption in other words an instructor or maybe a course director can see the results but not the diving public.

Purely conjecture on my part but I would think that is the kind of information the agencies would want their instructors to be aware of in an attempt to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In this particular case I can only hope and pray that this womans unfortunate death will save others from a similar fate. We all need to learn from this situation.

O-ring
April 30th, 2002, 02:53 PM
There was one in May of 88 where an IANTD trimix instructor took his students on their first trimix dive to 300' in FL. As if that wasn't enough, one student experienced an uncontrolled descent while she was supposed to be in deco and he did not realize what was going on (he was working on a downline or something) until she was quite a ways below him. One of the other students tried to get to her but efforts failed and someone ended up doing a body recovery.

Guess it goes to show you that you have to thoroughly check out your would-be instructors and refuse to play ball if you are placed in possibly unsafe conditions.

pescador775
April 30th, 2002, 03:02 PM
"The PADI police"....indeed. I assume that the real police will treat this as a suspicious death and that forensics will do a thorough job, including a check on whether the girl was pregnant.

Lost Yooper
April 30th, 2002, 03:09 PM
I agree with most everyone, especially Devilfish's last post about the system. It's obvious the instructor was at fault here, but at the same token, buddy diving isn't stressed enough right from the get go. We see this all the time, even with more experienced divers (at least I have).

Up here, the instructor has a max of 8-10 OW students with 2-3 DM's assisting. Even at that, and with decent vis, the instructor can't keep track of everyone, and shortcuts are often made as well. Invariably, at LEAST one diver won't be able to clear their ears, or will panic, or will have some kind of equiment problem, and a DM has to escort him/her back to shore. On every cert. dive I've been on, at least one one buddy team fails and nothing is done to correct it by the instructor.
I suspect this instructor is a "normal", honest, everyday instructor who is just trying to make a living, but is feeling the pressures of the scuba industry. There's just very little incentive to go beyond the minimum standards, and that's what we're seeing today, I believe -- minimum standards applied and divers with minimal inwater skills being cut loose.

Anyway, there is no friggin' way 14 OW students would work with one instructor and one assistant in 10' of vis. NO WAY. It shouldn't take a death to figure that out. I hope the instructor get's what he deserves. He got away with it long enough.

Mike

Rooster1
April 30th, 2002, 07:10 PM
my prayers go out to the victim and all those who suffer from this unfortunate loss. God give them all peace.

ScubaSteveC
April 30th, 2002, 07:20 PM
The facts that I've read are slightly different than what I've heard. Although, it really doesn't matter at this point, but I've heard that there were 14 students, but only 7 were in the water at one time. I hope this is true, because I agree that 14 in the water with only one Inst. is crazy. I can't handle 14 OW students in a clear pool with walls!

The statement of 14 students actually came from an owner of a competitor shop who I doubt knows any more than what was published by the media. I live in Tulsa and we only have 3.5 dive shops and the competitive dynamics between the shops are unreal, so I'm pretty confident in my statement that they don't know anymore than what the media published.

Rick, I agree completely about the statement of "holding hands". I read that said... oooohhhhh. That was not good.

Anyway, my dive buddy DIRlizard is a good friend with an instructor at the subject shop, but she wasn't there this last weekend. If we here anything enlightening I'll try to get him to post it or I will.

Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. This tragedy was probably traumatic on everyone there.

Iguana Don
April 30th, 2002, 08:01 PM
Being from Oklahoma, I know this shop well, matter of fact my dive buddy was certified there.

Here's the scary part----Randy Piper is a PADI Course Director!

That 9-10 viz is common for Oklahoma/Arkansas this time of year, so that doesn't suprise me. Hundreds of students have done their certs in exactly these types of conditions. The only difference is. The shop I dive out of has a 1-1 student/instructor/divemaster ratio.
That is 1 divemaster/instructor for each and every student.

In these kind of conditions you can't ever be TOO careful.

ID

otter-cat
May 1st, 2002, 05:20 AM
One (of many) things that I don't understand about the way this OW class was reportedly conducted is this:

7 students, 1 DM, 1 Instructor are in the water. The boyfriend of the woman who drowned stated that it took 5 or more minutes to find a DM/instructor. So TWO out of seven students are missing, and it took FIVE minutes for one of the staff to surface?

Is the ratio of 7 students/2 staff within PADIs regulations? Are the regulations dependent on visibility, or are they the same for 100' vis as 5' vis? I got certified in the Pacific Northwest in awesome 10-15' vis, and did AOW in about 5' vis. I felt my classes were conducted safely, and when we got separated from one of the divers, the instructor noticed right away, and we ALL surfaced. What are PADI's rules about this?

otter-cat

KC_Scubabunny
May 1st, 2002, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by Iguana Don
That 9-10 viz is common for Oklahoma/Arkansas this time of year, so that doesn't suprise me. Hundreds of students have done their certs in exactly these types of conditions.

I agree with ID. 9 to 10 foot viz probably sounds horrible to most of you but that is the reality of diving in Beaver, Table Rock or Bull Shoals which is pretty much what we have got to dive around here. In fact my husband dove Beaver the weekend before this accident and the conditions and temps described echo what he said.

My open water experience involved 4 students (2 buddy pairs) with an instructor, an AI and a divemaster candidiate. Vis was approx 10 - 15 ft but I remember always being able to see at least the instructor or the AI the entire time. Limited vis is still possible for training in fact I think my considerable diving in limited vis has made me a better diver but I do think 14 students is way to many to have in the water at once.

:bunny: KC_Scubabunny :bunny:

TexasMike
May 1st, 2002, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Iguana Don
Randy Piper is a PADI Course Director!Since i'm not familiar with the term, what additional responsibilities does "PADI Course Director" place upon this individual?

jbd
May 1st, 2002, 12:21 PM
TM--A course director is a person who certifies people to be instructors.

Iguana Don
May 1st, 2002, 06:55 PM
Has anybody heard anything else from this?

elysiumjd
February 20th, 2011, 04:25 AM
I was there. Protocols were followed. Here are the facts, as I remember them from 9 years ago.

The OW class was given the signal to surface immediately, once the instructor noticed the two missing.

The autopsy concluded there was no water in Sri's lungs. I could say more but I won't. I was on the boat. I know when everyone surfaced. I know that particular cove well. There were no obstructions. Visibility was adequate enough to maintain the Buddy System. I had just completed a dive in this cove 10 min prior to the OW class began their descent.

Read between the lines.

Doc Ed
February 20th, 2011, 05:31 AM
Suggest moving this 9 yr old thread to AI,

Welcome to the board ElysiumJD, and thanks for the added info.

At what point did the instructors note that the two were missing?

What were the results on inspection of the deceased's gear?

fire_diver
February 20th, 2011, 09:51 AM
I was there. Protocols were followed. Here are the facts, as I remember them from 9 years ago.

The OW class was given the signal to surface immediately, once the instructor noticed the two missing.

The autopsy concluded there was no water in Sri's lungs. I could say more but I won't. I was on the boat. I know when everyone surfaced. I know that particular cove well. There were no obstructions. Visibility was adequate enough to maintain the Buddy System. I had just completed a dive in this cove 10 min prior to the OW class began their descent.

Read between the lines.

If you know so much and are hiding your identity, why don't you explain it more and quit being cryptic>

String
February 20th, 2011, 12:08 PM
Ancient thread. remove.

shoredivr
February 20th, 2011, 08:45 PM
And here I was thinking, wow, O-Ring posting now? Then I looked at the date.

DandyDon
February 22nd, 2011, 03:21 AM
Elysiumjd, glad you finally joined us here on SB. I've seen divers leave in ambulances too many time, but they all came out ok. Just being there for that accident must have been awful. I do hope you talked it out well with friends or whomever, and if you'd like to share with us - please do so.

Tanked
February 22nd, 2011, 03:46 AM
I was there. Protocols were followed. Here are the facts, as I remember them from 9 years ago.

The OW class was given the signal to surface immediately, once the instructor noticed the two missing.

The autopsy concluded there was no water in Sri's lungs. I could say more but I won't. I was on the boat. I know when everyone surfaced. I know that particular cove well. There were no obstructions. Visibility was adequate enough to maintain the Buddy System. I had just completed a dive in this cove 10 min prior to the OW class began their descent.

Read between the lines.

Thanks for reviving a dead thread, and giving such detailed information...:shakehead:
Read between the lines.

k ellis
February 24th, 2011, 06:31 AM
In defense of Randy he is an awesome instructor in my opinion and one of the most knowledgeable instructors I have met to date. He is not just a joe blow who worked his way to Course director he was actually a navy seal with quiet a colorful history. Hes been under the waves for well over 40 years and knows more about diving then alot of divers have forgotten.

In the early stages of my open water I met with some difficulties and almost gave up on diving but he cared enough to sit down with me and show me how to over come the issues I had. Its because of him that I am able to be a master diver today and working on my dive master as we speak.

This was an incident before my diving days so I have no comment to issue on it but I felt before people can freely bash him for a story that tells 1 day of his career they should know more about him and how he has made alot of divers dreams come true over the years.

Doc Ed
February 25th, 2011, 05:56 AM
Don't worry Ellis, it seems more people are more interested in noting this is a 9 year old resurrection thread with little more added info.


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