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Another accident in Tulum Cave Diving

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Bent Frederiksen, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Bent Frederiksen

    Bent Frederiksen Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: So Cal
    10
    5
    3
    Hi, I lost a friend on November 26 while diving Gran Cenote in Tulum, Mexico. Very few information available. Anyone having inside connection in Tulum diving family?
     
  2. sebach

    sebach Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Paris, France
    122
    16
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    Waow, I'm in Tulum, cave diving for the last 2 weeks, and I haven't heard a thing about that accident. Do you have some info to share as a starting point? cavern/cave diving? with an instructor/guide/by himself? using which diving shop?
     
  3. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    3,793
    3,397
    113
    I am sorry for your loss. There is a 2nd hand account and discussion on another popular cave diving forum with some details. (Not sure the forum rules about posting the direct link)

    Cameron
     
  4. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
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    640
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    Don't know a ton of details but it sounds like poor team awareness by both divers. Word is the person what was the instructor was taking photos rather than paying attention to the deceased. The deceased separated from the buddy and wasn't aware of it. Not sure of the circumstance but details make it sound like a guided dive gone very wrong.
     
  5. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NJ
    1,050
    561
    113
    but the deceased then ran into another group of divers who were exiting the cave and she didn't ask them for assistance or show any signs of distress (they saw here deploying a spool and she gave them right of way to exit). Overall a very weird and sad story.

    There are some more details verified by several people on cavediver if others are interested.
     
  6. sebach

    sebach Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Paris, France
    122
    16
    18
    Unfortunately, they seems to be in a restricted section.


    Edit: it was just due to some delay in my registration processing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  7. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    867
    640
    93
    I found that odd too. I suspect at that point she thought it was a minor problem that would be resolved quickly. Maybe she had too much confidence in her instructor. Honestly if he was really taking photos and got that disctracted then she definitely had too much confidence. My assumption is they passed her early in the separation before real stress hit. The other rumor is it was a post-class dive. Could she have thought the instructor was pulling a drill?

    It would also be interesting to hear her cert level. If she wasn't full cave, it's possible she was embarassed to pull out her notes and ask a second team for help. I think people with lower confidence in their skills are often embarassed to ask for help from others they perceive to have more skill.
     
  8. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NJ
    1,050
    561
    113
    The surviving diver was a "newly minted" cave instructor, but I didn't see anything confirming this was a dive during a class--and the fact that she was taking photos tends to support this.

    We will never know what truly happened. My personal theory is that she just lost track and became complacent with her air supply. Between the dive, getting separated (even that is very weird, swam off?), looking for the exit, running into the group, etc she failed to realize how low she really was; until there is this "Oh ****!" moment where you realize no flow cave, lost, how far back?--I'm in a lot more trouble than a I thought 5 mins ago.

    I have to believe that if she really comprehended her air supply she would have asked the departing team because there doesn't seem to be that much of a delay between when the team saw her and when they found the body.
     
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,636
    17,115
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    I agree--that is the really puzzling thing about it. This is especially true since she was diving sidemount. Sidemount divers should be at least a little less prone to not keeping track of their air because they have to keep switching back and forth. Both of her tanks were empty, so she certainly knew when one of them was completely gone. If she had gone a long time without checking and suddenly had one tank run dry, then the other should have had a decent supply remaining. If not, then she should have known she was getting low when she made the previous switch.

    Just to reiterate, she was apparently seen very calm and in no hurry to exit not too long before her body was discovered.
     
    Texas Torpedo likes this.
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,636
    17,115
    113
    There is a second puzzling point. Here is part of the description from the Cave Divers Forum:
    While heading back to the Cuzan Nah loop, he met another team of divers. We'll call them Team A. He wrote on one of their slates, asking them if they'd seen a diver with a blue helmet. They replied yes. They had seen her five minutes prior as they were heading out of the cave. She was reeling in a spool, had yielded way for them because they were exiting, and they assumed she was diving solo.
    Why was she reeling in a spool? The other diver was taking pictures when he lost sight of her, so this was not something he was involved with. This could possibly explain her disappearance--she might have decided to go off on an explore of her own while he as taking pictures, he saw she was gone and took off looking without noticing a new line heading off somewhere, and she was just returning to the mainline (with him long gone) when the other group passed her.
     

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