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Canadian diver and buddy rescued near Apo Island, Philippines

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by Dogbowl, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    For the kind of rain storm in the video posted by @Kevrumbo above, they should be still penetrable enough & the Dive Alert is still loud enough to attract the boat crew attention, I think.
  2. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    Signal of plb will go through in indonesia. Rescue time depend on the location of the military.

    Case :
    I went diving in manado area with my plb1 in a plastic waterproof flexible case. Upon surfacing, 15 min later i realized the plb was activated accidentally (due to pressure at depth). Since the antenna of the plb was not deployed and it was only less then 30 min of accidental activation? I did not think much of it (i thought for sure signal would not have gone through as antenna was not deployed and not much time was activated and went on our 2nd dive) (Activation was near resort dive site)

    Upon return to land. We saw indonesian military personel at the resort (we thought it was routine inspection for that area). That was maybe less then 2 hour after discovery of the accidental activation. (Manado military have to take boat from mainland to resort island. 20 min away from mainlaind)

    Later when we turn on our cell phone (cell phone reception signal only on land near resort) we we shocked to get many missed call, texts, and emails from our family emmergency contact. The message was : jakarta sar detected an activation of your plb near manado. North american Sar Contacted emmergency contact and verify situation. Family Emmergency contact said we were diving in indonesia and cannot reach us. North american SAR told our emmergency contact that jakarta said military was notified!!

    That was when we panicked and realized that the plb1 is so powerful that even with the antenna down, and short activation time, the plb satellite signal actually went through! We frantically called NA sar and notified of the accidental activation. (Our family was panicking as they thought something happened to us)

    After that trip we bought a proper hard case dive canister for the plb.
    kelvkwok, DandyDon and chillyinCanada like this.
  3. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    Sar did mentioned that they got a very weak signal with gps coordinates in manado.
  4. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    Another data case:

    We were diving in misool area at raja ampat years ago. During the whole week, everybody in resort were making fun of us and our gears (why do you carry knife, smb, whistle etc). Most of the guests that week was divemaster, guides, or sell dive gears. A few was from south africa.

    Last dive of the trip was at magic mountain dive site (far from any island nearby). The dive was nice and uneventful. Last 15 min of the dive suddenly the current picked up. We had to use reef hooks just to finish safety stop. Our group was 5 guest and one divemaster guide.

    We surface and found out the current is much stronger and surface waves chop was 4 to 6 feet high. It was 4:30 pm on our last day of the trip, last dive. The divemaster signalled the boat to come get us. Boat was maybe only 30 m away but we could not even swim to the boat. That was when the boat motor refused to start. Our divemaster yelled and tried to direct the only staff on boat how to fix it. Boat motors refused to start.

    After a few minutes, as the boat was slowly moving away pushed by the waves, the divemaster that was with us informed us that he will try to swim to the boat and help the other staff to start the boat. He ditched his gears (bcd and tanks) for us to hold (waves were too strong to swim with all gears). He swam without any floatation and swam and swam for it seems like forever, and he almost drowned. He manages to reach the boat after 15 min but it still refused to start. At that point the boat was so far away that we cannot hear anything.

    And so we float and the waves start to separate us. I had to tell the group to swim closer and hold on to each other.

    I had some camera coil lanyard (Howshot Steel Wire Coil lanyard with Dual Clip (Max Length:130cm / Weight:50kg)- Quickly attaches/release any accessory or bc strap Id) With me and we used it to tether and attach the group bcb to each other.

    We deployed our own smb. By then it was around 5pm. The south african divers suddenly panicked and tell us that there is a HUGE shark under us circling us. At first everyone thought it was a joke, until we all looked down and saw a massive shark 3 to 4 m long that have a big belly at maybe 15 m under.

    Some of our lady did not want to look down after we confirmed the shark and the size of it. We said omg it looks so big even from far away!
    kelvkwok and Dan like this.
  5. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    I told everybody to stay calm, stop moving, stop kicking fins as maybe they can detect panic and fears. The south african divers said they want our knifes and said they will protect us as they are outside (we were in a crescent formation as everyone was holding each other. We were in middle of the formation)

    I tried to lighten the mood and said i need to film this as nobody would believe us after (and in case something happens). We were aware that it is around 5pm near sunset, floating in middle of ocean with nobody and no boat nearby and sharks usually hunt at sunset. It takes min 45 min for any speedboat to reach that dive site.

    The waves were so choppy that i cannot even fram the shark. I decided to let the camera on record regardless.
    kelvkwok likes this.
  6. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    For south african divers ( that are used to dive with sharks in south african waters) to show fears and wanted our knives, it did not sound reassuring...

    That was when i remember i had my nautilus lifeline 1st generation (NL1) with me in my bcb. I told the group they need to hold on to me so then i have handsfree and be able to call in and hope . The group mood lighten up... we start to joked around, like saying sharks like italian food or asian food (we got italian and asian divers)

    But I did not remember how to use that NL1 and have no idea what channel to use! So i press red button to dispatch our message. After a few minutes of trying we heard on radio that someone heard us and speedboat have been dispatched.

    More then 100 min may have passed from the moment we surfaced, until we heard a speedboat noise from far. We used our whistle and waved the SMB as hard as we could...

    In the end, we were safe, no footage of shark due to wavy surface waves. Some guests were upset that divemaster "left" us. Most are just happy to be safe.

    After that week, whenever and whereever we travelled we always have: knives, pony bottles, smb, whistles, NL1, PLB, lights, spare masks, hood, reef hooks, and even underwater laser light (for night time diving, or to show buddy something on reef). And we stop caring about what people say or tried to mock us with all our gears.

    We learned that there will be always people (mostly very advanced divemasters with thousand of dives) that will continue to mock us. It is the same on this forum, there will be always skeptics. It is your own life after all. We try to not depend on others people' gears or others to save you.

    we are sad to hear that every few month someone get lost in komodo or elsewhere. It only take a few second of not paying attention to your buddy or guide, or changing ocean conditions to put you in trouble. But everybody is entitled to their own opinions.
    kelvkwok likes this.
  7. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    Wow! Great example! So PLB1 is not useless in Indonesia as some people there thought.

    I had similar situation of accidentally triggering my PLB1 underwater with soft case (Kona iPhone 6 case), as shown in the picture, below, when I was in GBR. Luckily I was in experimental mode and attentively kept watching my depth & the case as descending. When my depth reached 104’, the PLB1 red light came on. So I slowly ascent to about 86’ when the red light turned off. The red light on duration was less than a couple minutes. No alert / phone calls received from NOAA, nor from my emergency contact or US embassy in Australia. I assume the signal wasn’t transmitted, yet.

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  8. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    During the whole time the south african divers had their heads underwater with knives in hand... later once we were calm and relaxed at resort they said the shark came very close to us (they did not want to say anything while we were floating away, to try not to panic rest of group as some did not want to hear or see shark at that time).
  9. Dogbowl

    Dogbowl Contributor

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Somewhere
    @Luxe miles diver , thank you very much for your first hand accounts! Very much appreciated!
  10. Luxe miles diver

    Luxe miles diver Registered

    Forgot to clarify what were in our kit now wherever we dive:

    Flexible foldable snorkel (after that raja ampat experience of difficulty breathing in waves)
    PLB1 in hard dive canister.
    Nautilus lifeline1
    Smb with 100 f line
    Spare mask
    Spare contact lenses + Asa + tylenol and some pills
    Hood (can put underwater in case get cold)
    A mini suncreen stick (we got skin burned by floating around for 100 min at raja ampat)

    Gloves (for cold or emmergency: one time in maldives, we encounter nasty ripping underwater down current. We could not do anything except putting our gloves on and grab the reef for pure suvival and tried to climb up and out of the down current)
    Sola dive lights
    Pony bottle
    Reef hooks :we used many times to stay in place calmly and put away camera, or to do safety stop deploy smb, while other divers got carried and surfaced 2 kms away from boat in currents.

    Strobe light for night time (color red or white to know your buddy from far) : Princeton Tec Meridian BC Strobe Light
    Underwater laser ; (for night time or day time reef signal) (green laser is more visible underwater); Green laser pointer for scuba diving
    Spare lanyard coil.

    All fit in our bcb and in another pocket that we attach to tank.

    Some may say it is overkill, but for us somehow we had used it in many situations to stay calm and safe. Ocean or current conditions can change drastically. Guides can disappear. Boat can be carried away. People can panic.

    It is our own lives and we do not want to depend on other, guides overseas to save us. (Guides that left us in water, or lost us many times, or they disappeared to take care of older / more important clients : bora bora, raja ampat, manado, maldives).

    It is a personal choice, but based on the many times s... happens to us, we feel comfortable with our safety gears. It is when s... happens that you wish that you have x gear.. even to stay comfortable and calm in unpredictable situations. We got rescue certified as well.

    Many people and guides have made fun of our stuff initially, and we learned to ignore it. We have similar approach to surface sports.

    While it may be true that gears do not save you, it is your brain that do. Accidents do not normally happens to scared newbies as they tend to be scared and extremely aware and careful. It is when experienced people let their guards down, or ignore that little voice in their head, or they listen to others instead of their own, or they let their emotions or pride take over, ignoring risks, underprepared, that accidents or s... happens. Others have used our gears many time to stay safe (under and over water), but the common point were that they all think it was uncessary, until they need our gears..

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