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A TALE OF TWO SCUBA DEATHS (invitation to further discussion)

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Ken Kurtis, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    To stop the speculation, and theorizing and rely only on more evidence, we might as well have NetDoc put a lock on this forum and be done with it.

    On the accident threads I usually look at the experience of the diver and and how much of the incident unfolding is available. In this case, as well as others, I feel there is no reason that the diver would not be able to manage the conditions except for a debilitating medical event. In most cases I would speculate a heart attack, from known or unknown condition, but in this case I would have to agree that a known condition, such as Vertigo, that could cause the accident would be more likely scenario. I am not closing the door on other options, I'm just staying with the most likely explanation until there are more facts, however it is unlikely there will be new facts.

    Never planning to be on the same side as Kevrumbo.

    A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse.
    drrich2, AfterDark and Jax like this.
  2. Ken Kurtis

    Ken Kurtis Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Beverly Hills, CA
    Not to be gruesome and cognizant of the fact that Peter may also still be following this thread . . .

    Significant decomposition doesn't really happen in hours but certainly would in a day or two or three. However, while decomp may release gasses, the shriveling of the body may also break the drysuit seals at the neck and wrists, allowing the drysuit to flood and the gas to escape. So personally, I'm not surprised. Also bear in mind that given the amount of time that has lapsed, ocean movements (currents, tides, etc.) may have transported Lynne tens or even a hundred miles out to sea at this point.

    - Ken
  3. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    Oxygen toxicity isn't typically something that suddenly strikes as soon as you exceed 1.6, typically it takes many minutes at >2 based on the studies, though it is highly unpredictable.
  4. stevensamler

    stevensamler DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Culver City, California, United States
    it was the vertigo.
  5. Kevrumbo

    Kevrumbo Banned

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: South Santa Monica Bay/Los Angeles California, USA
    1) Vertigo -cannot orient or discern up from down; 2) CO2 Retention & Narcosis, Dyspnea & Exertion Hypercapnia brought on by fighting the strong downcurrent; and then 3) final encroachment upon Eanx32 MOD/Ox-Tox limits in an uncontrolled descent.

    This is a potential worst case scenario of an overwhelming set of cascading problems that will quickly incapacitate a diver: If victim cannot recover & stabilize in time from 1) and 2) above, resulting in stupor or loss of consciousness --then it is just a matter of a few minutes before final Ox-Tox Seizure in 3). . .
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  6. themagni

    themagni Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada's Pacific Southwest, BC
    Not here. Water temp is around 50F at the surface, and 40F at depth in the summer, so basically a little more than fridge temperature. I know a few marine biologists, and they've said that here, gasification would happen after... um... crabification. I'm pretty sure she was DIR, so her suit (including gloves) would be almost entirely impenetrable. The face is all that's exposed.

    We had a diver go missing at Race Rocks (same water body) and it took from July 5 through August 27 to find him, and that was a chance sighting by a fisherman. If / when I die while diving in these waters, look for a day or two at most, but don't waste time looking for my body. The current here can be crazy, it's a big ocean, and I am very small.

    One of Lynne's posts flat-out saved my life, no exaggeration. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect she'd have her Checkout Dive before I had mine.
  7. mdb

    mdb ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    The good Doctor has left a long legacy. Her legacy includes these discussions which can benefit other divers. That was what she was always about.
  8. SeaHorse81

    SeaHorse81 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: PA
    Would you consider sharing the post and the story in the greatest posts thread dedicated to her?
    dgfishy, Pinecube and themagni like this.
  9. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    Some of these posts are getting a bit morbid; stop it!

    Let's get away from the medical aspects (which we may never know), and look more closely at prevention.

    First, the record dive:


    This is eerily reminiscent to another death that Jerry Greenburg documented, the dive of Hope Root (see photo below, from "Deep dive to the death," in Manfish with a Camera, by Jerry Greenberg, Seahawk Press, Miami, Florida, 1971, pages 13-14). If you look at Dr. Garman, he is using many, many tanks, both back-mounted and slung (four slung, if my memory is correct). The ergonomics of this setup is wild, unmanageable, especially at the depth he was attempting. He placed a number of divers in jeopardy simply by his attempt, as the "support" divers were to wait at 300 feet. I don't know how to talk to people like this, but that dive should never have been attempted, just as Hope Root's dive should not have been attempted.

    Concerning Lynne's dive, TSandM, the one thing we all can agree on is that there was a buddy separation. I think it is time to re-look at the more routine use of a buddy line. The second photo (below) is of my buddy Bruce and I diving really uncertain conditions on December 8, 1974, off the Oregon coast, just before we had been rolled by 15-20 foot breaker (conditions changed from 3-6 feet waves to 15-20 feet waves in the space of minutes). We ultimately spent hours awaiting pickup by the U.S. Coast Guard, which our girl friends called, just before dusk. I know this photo was before we were rolled because Bruce has his helmet, and I still had my mask in the photo (both of which were lost in the wave's chaos. We stayed together because we were wearing a buddy line of 1/4 inch nylon line 4 feet long, with brass snap links on a belt with parachute "D" rings that would not give way, even under these kinds of stresses. I still have that belt, which we feel probably helped save our lives by allowing us to help each other.

    In my dive log for that dive, I have detailed the following:

    Measures which would have helped:
    Coast guard saw my helmet 1st, recommended florescent tape on it (I had white tape on it).
    Mk-13 smoke flare or other positive signaling device (strobe light).
    Listing of our age, equipment, etc. for the Coast Guard.

    Lifesaving measures taken:
    1. Briefed the girls on emergency procedures (could be better in the future).
    2. Found regulator.
    3. Was + buoyant (BC on me & Bruce dropped weights in the wave).
    4. Both inflated vests just after the wave.
    5. Recognition of the change in status of our condition from an immediate emergency to a delayed emergency.

    Factors predisposing the incident:
    1. Wanting to dive in the good visibility of the open ocean, even in marginal conditions.
    2. Tides weren't good for diving in the bay (Yaquina Bay).
    3. "The calm before the storm"--a lack of good info on weather and water conditions. Out there we agreed we'd been "sucked in."
    4. Not watching the sea long enough (Bill Herter, who's laid a pipeline nearby and lives on the coast, says he sometimes must really look it over for an hour or more).

    Factors which allowed the incident to remain an incident
    1. Both Bruce and I were in good physical condition and had been swimming during the week.
    2. Neither Bruce or I choked on the sea water when the wave took us.
    3. We both remained calm; joked about seabirds & submarines and maintained high spirits throughout. We recognized the seriousness of the situation but devised strategies to get us out.
    4. The girls took the right measures; they called the Coast Guard at the right time and tried to keep us in sight.


    PS: I use the term "girls" above, as that is how we referred to each other during our college years, as "boys" and "girls," and that is how I wrote it in my dive log.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
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