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Death at Dutch Springs

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by dumaresq, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. openmindOW

    openmindOW HSA Instructor

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    Thank you, RJP. I very much appreciate that. As has been discussed earlier in this Thread, there is a question as to whether anyone who might know something about the incident in question might be able to shed light on the matter.

    Could you help me with that?

    Do you know anyone who works for or is associated with Dutch springs?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  2. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
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    I simply don't understand that,either. Although when I was younger I was dumber, too. In fact, when I first started night diving I dove with one very small light.
    i remember when I went to Africa, my bunk mate had her light go out and her buddy took off on her. She ended up lost without a light. She was a brand new diver and nearly panicked. It was a very scarey night dive with very high current, very surgy, too. She was pretty terrified and thankfully some other divers helped her get back to the boat. She luckily didn't give up on diving. She made it to the boat, no further problems, no thanks to her buddy and I learned that I should never night dive without a couple of backups.
    This was before I'd met my current husband. He taught me to use a tank light and two flash lights. I actually use a can light and two back up lights, now, plus a tank light, which is a basic chem light ( like we used to use in the Army for night land-nav. We also mark our exit/ entrance with chem lights. If we have stairs to go down we usually put a chem light up high and one down lower so that it is easy to see the chem lights from a distance. This is really, really helpful for navigation. For instance, at Catalina dive park or perhaps Bonaire at Oil Slick Leap, we might put a chem light on our car, and another on the top of the stair handles. This works great to help find the way back to the exit. We do similar at a beach night dive, by pitting a chem light on the car hood and another on a big stick standing up near our entrance, which we try to make as easily visible as possible.
    I don't understand how folks get in and out of the water without this sort of pre -planning and lights. Then again, maybe that's why there are a lot of night diving deaths, especially during lobster season when there are a lot of divers who aren't used to night diving and don't dive often, who come out once in a "blue moon" to dive for lobsters.
     
    chillyinCanada and DandyDon like this.
  3. MMM

    MMM Giant Squid Staff Member

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  4. DiverGirl1972

    DiverGirl1972 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Central, PA
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    Not sure whether he had one at the start of the dive or not, but when found, he did not have any lights on him. At best, he did not have a back-up or a tank light and his primary wasn't secured.
     
    Ayisha likes this.
  5. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

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    Willing to engage in hypothetical discussion, if only to show the potential issues of doing so and the need to make informed decisions about processing information.

    I have no information about lights - first-hand or second-hand - but there's probably a need to understand what could be a semantic issue:

    - Did he have any lights "on him" when found?
    - When found, did he have any lights with him that were on?

    Did your source (or if applicable, your source's source) make clear which he/she meant?

    I don't know the answer, but it's easy to see that if he did have a fully-charged, working light "on him" at the beginning of the dive... that the battery would quite likely be drained by the time they started a search at 11:30 or so. Certainly it would be drained when they found him at 3:30 in the morning. In the same vein, if he had a backup with him, but he died before the primary battery was drained he would not have ever turned on the backup on.

    So when someone says "He didn't have any lights on him when found" do we know if they were specifically - and accurately - talking about whether he did not have a light when found, or if he did not have a light that was functioning when found? He may well have had a dead primary and a working, but never accessed secondary. Or he could have entered the water with no lights. Or he could have lost his light(s), causing the accident. Or he could have lost his light(s) in a panic due to the accident. Or the light could have fallen out of his hand after he died. Or a unicorn could have stolen his lights. In any of these scenarios it's easy to see how someone might say "when found, he did not have any lights on him." And we still have no idea what actually happened OR how to interpret the second-hand information.

    I've personally seen this sort of "telephone game" thing happen in other incidents, where someone reports "a fact" in a way that gets unintentionally twisted by over/under-reading something into what was said. In one case a second-hand person observed "I heard that the victim did not have a reel when the body was recovered" which was widely spread as "the victim was stupidly diving without a reel" when in actuallity what happened was "the recovery team left the victim's reel in-place on the bottom when they brought the body up."
     
  6. DiverGirl1972

    DiverGirl1972 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    No lights present when the body was found and observed. Zero lights, functioning or otherwise. Either he started the dive with no lights or any lights that he did have were not secured and were lost at some point prior to him being found on the bottom.
     
    Ayisha, DandyDon, openmindOW and 2 others like this.
  7. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

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    Thanks for clarifying what you heard. Though, if not secured, it's still possible that, when found, the victim had a light that was lost - or simply not observed/recovered - during the body recovery.

    The same question can and should be asked several different ways. If the victim didn't have lights when the body was brought onto the boat, an investigator should ask a recoverer "Did you specifically look for the victim's light before touching the body? Did you examine the area for a light before touching the body?" And if you say "I did not see a light on the victim when I approached the body" you will be asked "Was that on casual observation, or did you specifically conduct a comprehensive search for a light?" And when you say "Um..." you will be asked (or told, if the question is being asked in deposition) "So, you do not actually know whether the victim had a light when the body was found, and all you can really confirm is that there was no light secured to the victim's body at the time the body was brought back aboard the boat? Isn't that correct?"

    Not doubting the information, and it may well be the case, just pointing out that the fact that there was no light at the surface doesn't mean you can conclude that it was lost prior to him being found - unless the recoverer specifically conducted a search for a light before begining recovery. Seems unlikely that they would conduct such a search, and further unlikely that such a search would be effectively executed at night, in poor visability. Otherwise, you can only conclude that when the victim was brought to the surface, no light was secured to the body.
     
  8. redacted

    redacted Guest

    Lights may be necessary to see stuff. They should not be necessary for survival for OW divers.
     
    DiverGirl1972 likes this.
  9. DiverGirl1972

    DiverGirl1972 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Central, PA
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    Let me ask a hypothetical question… First, let me preface this by saying that I have NO idea about how a scooter changes a diver’s weighting requirements or how they operate as I have never used one or handled one in the water. If, for some reason, a diver doesn't have a lot of experience or training on using/properly securing a scooter, enters the water with little or no available air and hits the button, sending him on an unexpected and quick descent, is it possible that the situation could get away from them quickly enough to prevent them getting back to the surface? Diver is wearing a drysuit and it is not inflated at the surface.

    Do scooters have a safety mechanism that letting up on the button/switch automatically stops its operation and if so, does anyone know of a circumstance when they've gotten "stuck"?


    ---------- Post added September 24th, 2013 at 09:11 PM ----------

    At first blush, not having lights doesn't seem to be a life-or-death situation, but if you factor in low viz conditions and a POSSIBLE stuck "button" or improperly operated unit in a descent... That could certainly cause enough disorientation to bring on panic. Throw in a low/no air situation... Who knows? Unfortunately, there is only one person who knows for sure and he can't tell us.
     
  10. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

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    This thread is beyond ridiculous. I have no problem with people making assumptions based on a limited amount of information and trying to formulate some reasonable hypotheses, but from what I see, nobody knows nothing and the few who say they know something - aren't talking.

    You don't need five lights to dive a quarry, yes a scooter can stick on, no a scooter is not super heavy (unless it floods).
     
    Tortuga68 likes this.

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