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Multiple deaths diving off NC coast May 10, 2020?

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Steve_C, May 10, 2020.

  1. Rose Robinson

    Rose Robinson Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: British Columbia
    Hello Bob,

    Hard to determine where to start, other than to say, if we don't have a foundation, as has been well established by the various Scuba Training/Instruction bodies, what do we have?

    Uncertified Instruction, self taught scuba (buy the book/buy the gear, good luck).

    My intention here, was to stick to scuba, and avoid the tangents, but where would we be as a race without ''certified'' people to teach us.

    I love the ''wheel'', but I much prefer it on my Porsche or my new Aviator, as opposed to a stone wheel on a wooden ox cart.

  2. poseident

    poseident Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Charlotte, NC
    That's a fair question John.

    The account elsewhere in the thread, based on the ME's viewing of the GoPro video of the incident didn't indicate the buddy (or the first victim) tried to purge or freeflow the donated reg. If that did indeed happen it would add a variable to the equation around the OOA for the second victim as well.

    Since this thread began I've imagined myself in the husband's fins. If kids weren't a factor (I don't recall if there was any information about them having children of any age), I knew I was also about to be OOA, I knew there was little hope for resuscitation (witnessed the aspiration of lots of seawater and couldn't find a pulse), I can't be CERTAIN I wouldn't just hold onto my wife as I breathed my last too. Especially if I thought "it was my fault" for any possible reason.

    I think I'd be more likely to have dumped all weight the moment the donation went bad and hoped for chances of resuscitation of both of us on the surface, but who knows?

    Just to add some context to the free-flow incidents I mentioned....both took place in extremely shallow water (10' - 12') at the start of a training dive with full cylinders, yards from the beach with a Divemaster in tow. That's a very good controlled environment to learn hard lessons in.
  3. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    1 August 10th 1975- 23 year old male, details unknown

    2. May 29th 1976, 18 year old male details unknown

    3. September 7th, 1981, 30 year old Male on his 9th dive suffered a an air embolism

    4&5 August 31st 1986, a mother and her teenage son panicked while on the bottom with the father OOA and embolism. Both perished. The father died a few weeks later

    6. June 6th 1988, 46 year old Male panicked at depth and suffered and embolism on ascent.

    7. August 3rd 1998, 26 year old Male was on his 18th logged dive and was over weighted. His buddies suffered a free flow leaving him down there. He never surfaced and his tank and pony were empty.

    8. August 7th 2000, an elderly Male surfaced a ways away from the mooring embolized and sank back down

    9. June 20th 2003, 57 year old Male died when his lungs filled with fluid and was his 27th dive and first one of the season

    10. August 28th 2004, 53 year old Male suffered a heart attack on the wreck, autopsy showed a ruptured ulcer.

    No other records show any other fatalities.
  4. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL

    I think they had adult child(en).

    I don't know if purging or freeflowing the reg is that big of a deal, especially since it seems that most people on this thread are focused on other topics, some of which are only peripherally related to the accident.

    If the description of the video said purging didn't happen then I would, of course, accept that, but if it was simply not mentioned, it could have been omitted inadvertently, because the potential importance might not have been recognized. The description of the head cam video is brief, there could be sections showing when he last checked his air and even what the pressure was at that time. The description was concise and useful, but questions might be answered on the video about a number of issues.

    In any regard, I will use the accident as a reminder for myself about purging when low on air. I know for a fact that purging the reg would be my instinctual response and I am the first to admit, it might be the wrong thing to do.

    The other issue/reason why I mention this potential occurrence, is that I don't feel it is entirely fair to criticize the husband for draining his tank to close to zero (as his wife apparently did), unless there is enough information to justify that assumption.

    They're both dead, it probably doesn't really matter, but it could make a slight difference to loved ones to understand the nuances of the accident. It makes me sad to contemplate what happened.
  5. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    Again, you are putting words in my mouth. I didn't make any comment with regard to whether the person you are learning from is an instructor or not. I said you CAN learn without formal instruction that produces a C card. You could still be learning from an instructor. I have taught a dive buddy or two how to dive a wreck (non--penetration) (as best I can, and I am a SDI Wreck instructor) without making a formal class of it or issuing them a C card. I personally know a person or two, who are not instructors, that I would trust to teach someone how to dive wrecks (non-penetration), also. If you want to get technical, I'd call it mentoring, and I think it's a good way to learn a lot of things in scuba.

    I learned how to dive from a boat by going diving on a boat and getting the safety and dive briefings from a mate (a Divemaster, I think), not an instructor. I didn't take a Boat Diver class or get a C card. And I'm perfectly fine with having learned how to dive from a boat that way - for myself and for anyone else.

    I learned how to drive a DPV from a guy who is not an instructor. I have yet to take the formal DPV Diver class and have no DPV cert card. I did my due diligence, though, and read what the DPV course standards prescribe for skills and asked my mentor about the "proper" way to do some of those things. I could be wrong, but I *think* I am a competent and safe (non-cave!) DPV driver now.

    I guess the direct answer to your question is Yes. I'm okay with taking instruction "in scuba diving" from someone who is not certified as a scuba instructor. If you are not, that is your choice. Personally, I try to learn from anyone that can teach me anything - Instructor C card in their wallet or not. Before I actually became an instructor and started teaching, I might have been pretty inclined to presume anyone with an instructor card is actually qualified and competent to teach whatever their Instructor card says. I didn't know better, then. Now, I'll just say that, in the Venn diagram of "has Instructor card to teach X" and "qualified and competent to teach X", my experience is that the two circles overlap, but neither is a proper subset of the other.

    Circling back to the start of this subplot between you and I, I repeat myself: Even if the two divers who passed away in this accident did not have full Deep specialty cards, I would not simply ASSUME that they were unqualified to be doing the dive they were doing.
  6. Rose Robinson

    Rose Robinson Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: British Columbia

    Not assuming.

    An OW certification is an introductory level of certification, and unless I am unaware of the change, provides the diver with a sufficient level of instruction for the diver to safely dive to 60 ft. with basic gear.

    And while I know full well there is no ''scuba police'', in any similar set of circumstances, doing my best not to assign blame in any particular incident, an OW trained diver, is not prepared for an open ocean dive of this nature.

    Finally, what someone chooses to do without certification, falls solely on the individual, with severe penalties to be paid for errors and/or omissions. One of the best reasons why, rebreather manufacturers do not sell directly to uncertified purchasers, and dive shops will not fill tanks for uncertified divers, and if they are for any reason, shame on them.

  7. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    Okay. And when the diver has 1000 dives, do you still think they could not safely go to 70' without taking a formal class and getting an Advanced card that certifies them to go as deep as 100?
  8. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia
    You’re 100% focused on possession of a piece of plastic/certification card. Possession of a certification does not equal competence and is not REALLY an indicator of whether or not a diver is prepared for the dive in question. Possession of a certification card is simply an indication that a diver satisfactorily completed a course.

    Plenty of people go straight from OW to AOW with zero dives in between. The mere possession of AOW certification does not indicate competence, though it is sometimes interpreted as possession of competence and experience.

    Is it a good idea for a diver to receive “advanced” (beyond basic OW) training prior to completing 60’+ dives? Yes. However, whether that training was completed formally (paid a fee to an agency to get a certification card) or completed informally via a mentor...it’s the “same difference” if the training was of an equal content and quality.
    eleniel and stuartv like this.
  9. Rose Robinson

    Rose Robinson Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: British Columbia

    Unless someone is asking for proof of certification and there is none, and to compound matters there is no log or other dive record.

    So, this person is uncertified, trained informally be mentors, keeps no records, and claims to have logged 1000 dives.

    In my mind, this individual is not a diver, but a liar.

    Which, by the way. is not sufficient qualification for an open ocean dive to the upper end of rec. limits.

  10. uncfnp

    uncfnp ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    @Rose Robinson I think you can tell that stuartv is not alone in his believe that a formal education that culminates in a c-card is not the only accepted/recognized/or safe form of learning. Informal mentoring as well as independent experience too are viable options and to at least some extent may actually be preferred options. There are divers on this forum including myself that have paid for informal training that did not involve any form of certification because they felt this was the best route for them to become better divers or to seek the experiences and skills they felt they needed.

    Then too, as with many other activities and even professions, the real learning begins after the student leaves the classroom and puts theory to practice.

    We all have different ways to learn and saying that there is only one acceptable route is shortsighted.

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