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Twenty Three Years - The Rouses

Discussion in 'Passings' started by JS1scuba, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. Jax

    Jax Deplorable American ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
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    I believe the fatal dive was on air because the son forgot to get helium / trimix. Do I remember incorrectly?

    If one plans to dive with the safety of trimix, etc., a sudden change to air would certainly be a good reason to thumb the dive.
     
  2. packrat12

    packrat12 Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Merritt Island
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    No. At the time, the Rouses were having financial difficulties as was documented in the book 'The Last Dive'. I believe that Chris Rouse had recently sold his airplane for more funds, that the excavating business was on hard times etc. Either way, at that time, trimix was relatively new in technical diving and not necessarily considered a requirement.

    Overall, my understanding from the books I have read, the trimix was just too expensive for the amount of diving they were doing and that air was considered a viable alternative.
     
  3. phoenix31tt

    phoenix31tt DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Trinidad and Tobago
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    This is what I know as well... Especially as I said before they were one of the few people using trimix for wreck diving anyways... And they had done dives to those depths on air...



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  4. Jax

    Jax Deplorable American ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
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    Yet seemed woefully unprepared mentally for the switch to air - at least the son was. Dad was just being a dad.
     
  5. phoenix31tt

    phoenix31tt DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Trinidad and Tobago
    871
    216
    43
    I don't think you've read the accounts in its entirety...

    It wasn't just the switch to air... There were a number of other factors that escalated the situation... I view it as having trimix would've enabled him to deal with these situations better but I could be wrong...

    Regardless... that switch is very very far from diving without training in a cave or doing new dives that your peers tell you is insane...

    There are good, sensible lessons to be learnt from the rouses... More than just common sense lessons such as diving within the limits of your training and experience


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  6. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NJ
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    What does this even mean? They had done loads of dives to those depths on both air and trimix (probably more on air considering how new trimix was to the NE, but I won't say anything definitive). Like most things in Scuba small issues feed on one another to create catastrophe. Being Narc'd at 240 can be dealt with, current and poor viz can be dealt with, getting trapped in the wreck could have been dealt with, failure to find their stage bottles could be dealt with, having a slightly ripped mouth piece on a regulator could have been dealt with. Throw all of those things into a blender and have them happen on one dive and you get the story of the Rouses.

    I have often wondered why the story of the Rouses was so famous. It isn't like they are the first or last skilled divers to lose their lives. It probably is the same reason we remember the two divers who lost their lives at Eagle's Nest on Christmas Day, their is something special about the primordial connection between a father and son.
     
    Jax likes this.
  7. packrat12

    packrat12 Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Merritt Island
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    I did a hot drop to 170 on air recently. Dive went well, felt no narcotic effects. Did the same dive on the same wreck using a downline but this time on a lighter trimix. There was a pretty good current and had to pull down. I was heavily narc'd by time I reached the wreck. Stayed that way for about 1/2 the dive. Breathing heavy, I am sure I built up a lot of CO2. I am a firm believer that CO2 is far more narcotic then nitrogen (200x) in diving.

    Let us look at what happened with the Rouses. The son was trapped by debris on the wreck. He struggled to work himself loose. They would have built up lots of CO2 at that point. After that, even relatively simple tasks were beyond them. Would trimix have saved the day? No one can be sure. I will tell you on my 2nd dive, if a lot more had happened (and some did), it eventually could have been beyond my mental capabilities even with trimix.

    Why is this event so popular? I think it is because several very well written and researched books were published about it. These books were an introduction into technical diving for a bunch of us divers looking for more.
     
  8. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    There are three lessons that strike me that have not yet been mentioned.

    The first is that the two of them, by following their typical "bicker brothers" routine, each talked the other into doing a dive that neither one wanted to do. Sea conditions were very poor, and most of the divers chose not to dive. Before diving, each of them said, at separate times, that they did not want to do the dive. In each case, the other badgered him into agreeing to go. They thoroughly violated the golden rule of technical diving, that any diver can call a dive at any time without question. I tell the story of the Rouses in my technical diving classes for that reason. Never put pressure on anyone to do a dive they don't want to do.

    As for the second lesson... In The Last Dive, author and Rouse friend Bernie Chowdhury described his own near fatal case of DCS. He had left his decompression bottles on an ascent line on a wreck, and because of narcosis, he was unable to find them before his back gas ran out. He had no choice but to surface without any decompression stops. That is similar to what happened to the Rouses. As a result, I pretty much only leave decompression bottles to pick up later if I am in a cave, where failing to get to them usually requires a bigger problem than DCS. I have had buddies suggest leaving tanks in certain locations while searching a wreck rather than carry them, and I have so far nixed that idea every time.

    The third lesson is related to the second. The impression I got from reading Chowdhury's description in The Last Dive is that the Rouses were very much struck by his survival of his DCS incident. I can't recall how Chowdhury described it, but I got the sense that as soon as they knew they had a problem, their first thought might have been that if Bernie can go straight up and live, so can we. Thus an absolute last resort option moved to a first choice option. I am not sure how to word the lesson from that, but it definitely is a part of my thinking.
     
    chrisreedrules, Texas Torpedo and Jax like this.
  9. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NJ
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    On point number 3,

    He did mention a conversation along the lines of "well, you only get a hit and a ride in the chamber" Although I can't remember if this was a conversation with the Rouses or Bernie's own thoughts when surfaced during his DCS dive. Either way, the mindset wasn't (and still isn't unique) to divers today. Given the choice of a DCS hit or drowning what option would you choose?

    From the description in the last dive, They had some kind of deco/stage bottle on them. Not enough for a total decompression schedule, but something. When they ascended, Chrissy (the son) tried to breathe off his bottle, but got a mouth full of water due to a torn mouthpiece. He panicked and bolted to the surface. The father followed him because it was his son and he wanted to protect him, but they both surfaced with gas to breathe.
     
  10. phoenix31tt

    phoenix31tt DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Trinidad and Tobago
    871
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    yup... i wasn't trying to describe all the lessons learned... because there are so many and so much more than the typical lessons learned...

    the points you made also resonated with me, among others. The overconfidence, the fixation on an objective (even though John Chatterton was fixated as well and survived, but luck isn't always on everybody's side), the "peer" pressure/competitiveness, the mistakes that can be made when trying to rescue somebody close to you, not following intuition... etc etc lots of lessons.
     
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