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Lessons to be learned-Death in Palau

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by detroit diver, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    Although this is the most likely cause of the accident I have to wonder if the ST elevations meant that she had an MI< precipitating the entire event?
  2. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    "I agree that way too many instructors never teach the basics of neutral buoyancy. I hope that this could never be said of me."

    Boy is that the case. I was appalled that my best friend just got her c-card and couldn't even dive horizontal. She said that as she was ascending from each dive her feet went above her head. She did every safety stop upside down and still got her card.
    My roommate on the live-aboard I did in Sept had never been in the water except for her OWC which she got for that trip. She panicked her first dive because she couldn't clear her ears.
    What scares me is that after the 25 dives she did that week she has now gotten her nitrox, advanced, and believe or not her rescue diver!! All with 25 dives plus whatever lake dives she did for her cards.
    I have about 150 dives and am just now doing rescue. I'm finding it a challenge but one that I'm now ready for. I can't even imagine trying to do it at 25 dives and feeling that it was worthwhile at that point in my diving. (other than what I learned to save myself!)

    I think that inexperienced divers have no idea what dangers lie ahead, esp. on a dive like the one described.
    If she didn't know to be frightened, how would she know to abort?
  3. pterantula

    pterantula Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: San Jose, CA

    I fully agree that it boggles sensibility when someone can be cert'd "advanced" with so few dives (I did it too, and I questioned it every step of the way...) - but I disagree on your final point: rescue diver training should be done as soon as possible, preferably near OW/AOW training.
    Rescue training should really be incorporated into OW, with additional training being geared toward more advanced techniques; if you can't identify stressors and maintain a rational approach to "what the hell do I do NOW!?" from your first few dives, you shouldn't be diving.
    Some people have naturally cool responses to stress and potential panic, but many don't, and while stress & rescue courses can't fix this they do at least open your eyes to signs & solutions.

    This in itself I believe helps divers identify conditions and situations in which they may be over their heads, where they can decline dangerous dives - something an OW card absolutely does not do.

    (I can only guess that S&R courses are kept separate from standard OW/AOW training as part of the gradual dumbing-down of dive training, in the effort to make for easier entry to the industry/sport. If instructors came out and said "Diving: one of the few leisure activities that could easily kill you," we would have a much, much smaller industry....)
  4. emttim

    emttim Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Santa Clara, CA
    I didn't read through the entire thread because I have to go take care of some stuff today, but after seeing CPR rescuscitation after over an hour of being down, I'm simply amazed.

    Due to my profession, I was able to understand all the medical terminology, and my question is this: What in the **** is an ER doing without even having a suction!? The fact that the ER you transported the patient to was so poorly equipped to handle run-of-the-mill emergencies means it's an almost certainty that future people will die from the "care" or lack thereof at that facility. I understand not every hospital in the world is going to be like it is in the U.S., but on the other hand, every ER (and hospital) should have basic equipment such as suction.

    With a BP of 70/P, HR 110ish, agonal respirations, along with the obvious neurological deficit and the fact she had to be rescuscitated, it was kind of a foregone conclusion that she wasn't going to make it. It's hard enough to get someone back with CPR, but unless I've forgotten the statistics, most people that do come back code later and die. I definitely think this should be an example of why there are limits on every diver's skills that may change quite often but should not be overstepped. Thanks for sharing.
  5. SandCrawler

    SandCrawler Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Mobile, AL
    I can't say enough about my past instructors. They were passionate about diving, about keeping students alive, and they were independent so they weren't obligated to sales in the dive shop.

    That said, the training I'd prefer to see more of would include instructors really testing your comfort level. It might turn off some divers, but isn't that the idea? Is it fair for me to say that instructors should make their best effort to teach and challenge and, if needed, be willing to deny a cert or insist on more training before signing off? "But what about my trip schedule?!"

    I guess it's like any other profession... you've got a lot of great instructors, and then you've got a few people out for a buck.
  6. spydeedyves

    spydeedyves Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Central Massachusetts
    I have struggled with the appearance that training, while it is touted as being the paramount issue in diving, is financially motivated. I firmly believe that OW certification should include IN DEPTH training for self rescue. While I understand that time simply could not allow training for every scenario in the OW class, it could and should be included in the written part of the training. As a Marine, Firefighter, Police Officer and father, I could not possibly train for every scenario. However, KNOWING what is out there has allowed me to at least be partially prepared and not panic when the stuff hits the fan. That being said, the operator of any dive site/operation has a responsibility to the divers and the families of the divers using their operation. The training of their divers should be taken into account by those supervising the dive. You can tell me that "I dived beyond my limits, it's my fault." You may be right, but are you willing to look at my wife or children and say this? Did I truly know that I was in over my head? Have I been properly trained to evaluate the dive prior to entering the water? I can say that, as an OW diver, I was not. I have a cool head and am comfortable under water. I try to plan for contingencies in every aspect of my life and have a profound respect for the water and the fact that humans can't survive in that environment without help. I'm not trying to bash any certifying agency or instructor, I just think that we need to change a few aspects about the current training practices as well as who is responsible for whom when facilitating dives. These incidents are tragic and my heart goes out to all who were affected by them.
  7. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Bay Area, CA
    I have a couple things to say in reply to this but I can't figure out how to link them. On the whole, I agree with what you're saying.

    Thought one. My wife has always complained that, when we got our open water certification, the implication was that we were ready to dive -- anywhere. I know some dive ops require an advanced certification but we certainly didn't need one to dive Pelileu (sp?). It would be nice if the certification agencies could explain that and explain why you should get further training.

    A (slightly) separate point is that, as far as my reading of the DAN statistics each year goes, panic seems to be the number one killer of divers. It's one thing to find yourself over your head (we've all been there) but it's another to panic when it happens. It would be really great if the dive agencies could spend more time on dealing with this aspect of the sport.
  8. kevink

    kevink Instructor, Scuba

    Who revived this thread and how is it stuck on diver training and training agencies.

    There is not a certification in the world (unless someone in Palau is writing one) that is going to teach you to snorkel over the tip of Peleliu and determine if the bottom conditions are acceptable for you and your buddy to attempt the dive. If you want to spend two weeks to a month out there learning how to judge the bottom conditions that would be another story. I spent a year out there.

    Part of the reason you take a local guide is to have someone to give you the lay of the land, and hopefully guide you to somewhere that is within your comfort and experience level.

    I had a couple of friends come out, get certified, and they were doing Blue Corner before they left (they were not AOW certified either), but they had experience with currents and hooking in.

    Does an advanced certification help you at a place like Peleliu? Probably not, but at least 10 drift/hook dives under your belt would certainly be helpful, unless it is a calm day down there.

    As far as their being limited medical capabilities out there...It is a country of 20K people in the middle of the pacific. Once you step out of the US, you are on your own forget about helicopters, ALS, ACLS, etc. If you are in the medical trade, and you have some down time on a surface interval, stop in to the hospital/clinic of your tropical locale of choice, they are normally friendly and will afford you some level of professional courtesy. I think I have three under my belt now. You won't find a Level I trauma center, but I have found they were appropriate for the location and population they served.
  9. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    More training equals less panic. Do you see any agencies beefing up their entry level course? I don't. All I see is separately priced products that people may or may not deign to take.
  10. Doc Intrepid

    Doc Intrepid Instructor, Scuba

    NEW DUDES---


    This thread was started in the Spring of 2003.

    Before you revive old threads, ensure there is a reason to respond to a five year old thread rather than starting a new one.

    Most of the guys and gals in the thread in 2003 are no longer with us today...



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