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Instructor bent after running out of air at 40m

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by Scared Silly, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    Let's assume that this isn't a cover story, but it happened as actually described. According to the transcript of the interview with the injured diver, two of them ran OOG at 40 m, and then between 30 and 25 m all four of them were OOG. That means four instructors all had such a lack of situational awareness that none of them were watching their SPGs. The implausibility of which is what has raised the question of a cover story.

    "There were four of us on the dive. We'd all planned thoroughly before the dive obviously. But what happened was a disparity between what was planned in terms of breathing rates and what actually happened on the dive. So, a couple of people ran out of air before they'd planned to run out of air, if you know what I mean....it was an absolute surprise....From there we were breathing breath for breath off of the two remaining tanks that had air in them... and then we got to about 25, 30 metres safely, and then from then we were all out of air."

    Again, assuming that the story is accurate as described, being aware of your tank pressure is far more important than a pony bottle. Redundant gas supplies are great, and have their place. But their place is to help in case of catastrophic gas loss (e.g. blown LP hose). If you can't watch your SPG, no amount of gear will make you a safe diver.
    eleniel, soggybadger and Bob DBF like this.
  2. Pao

    Pao Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    It was mentioned that they were using slates to plan their ascent. Could it mean that they were making a makeshift deco schedule?
    eleniel, CT-Rich and Bob DBF like this.
  3. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    So, two highly experienced diver ran out of air, a complete surprise, at 40 meters , and they began an ascent sharing air. I don't know what "breathing breath for breath" means, but let's say they were doing a normal air share with an alternate rather than what it sounds like--buddy breathing. My calculations tell me that the other two divers would have had a maximum of 600 PSI when they began the ascent, which is far too little for a dive at that depth. This means all 4 of them were unexpectedly low on air at that time, and not one of them was checking their air supply on a dive that deep--inconceivable for experienced divers.
    soggybadger likes this.
  4. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Regular of the Pub

    Then their meticulous planning has managed to completely forget the little detail called SIs and we're back to door number 1: Dr. Darwin must've had a day off that day.
    tracydr and soggybadger like this.
  5. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    Yup. Which is why I'm voting for door number 2.

    And look at this! Thank you, Justin Carmack, whoever you are...
    eleniel, EdC and soggybadger like this.
  6. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    If you don’t watch your spg, then a pony WILL make
    you safer. You will still be stupid, but it just might be enough to save a spinal cord.
  7. Greenjuice

    Greenjuice Contributor

    All the replies so far have expressed the reading of this story with amazement and incredulity. More so when reading the transcript in the victim's own words.

    This article was meant to have been a story of a human triumph against disability, but our incredulity is focused on the part the story of what had happened.

    Many who have contributed to this discussion have a dive experience numbered in the tens not hundreds. Many are not instructors. And yet we all seem to sense that the story of what happened was so incredible at so many levels. This only serves to emphasise how fundamental these errors are to our diving community. Amplified even more when made at the same time by four individuals at instructor grade.

    It is only when we change the parameters of the story, and 'push the envelope' if you will, that we can start to imagine how such an event might have happened. I agree with the suspicions of others, that they had planned and executed a much much deeper dive. I was at Sipadan just after a young Taiwanese instructor on vacation had died after pushing his limits on a solo dive on air. On recovery, the dive computer showed 100m.

    I would expect those working at the chamber or involved in the rescue, if divers themselves, would have had the same suspicions.
  8. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    You are right of course. Seat belts even save terrible divers.

    I just instinctively push back on the suggestion that the solution to a complete and utter lack of situational awareness is extra gear. It's more of a teaching point. I don't want new divers to think "hey, if I have a pony bottle, I don't have to watch my SPG".
  9. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    And drivers. LoL.

    I agree, a safe diver is aware of the situation and they should not depend inordinately on others or technology to save them.

    To me, diving that deep without redundancy is unsafe and unwise, but people do it all the time.

    I tend to push back on the idea that it is fine for recreational divers to be taught to rely on each other, when we see examples of just how incompetent instructors are.

    Seems that mandatory redundancy at some depth would have been implemented by now. People spend $1000 for a computer, but can’t drop $400 for a get of jail card?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    Coztick, soggybadger and doctormike like this.
  10. hroark2112

    hroark2112 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    My Little Pony doesn’t count!!!
    eleniel, Barmaglot and soggybadger like this.

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