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Old 19-03-2007, 07:06   #1
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3 divers die in Fl. wreck (USS Spiegel Grove):

Three New Jersey scuba divers* who died while exploring the wreckage of a sunken U.S. Navy ship possibly became stuck inside the wreck and ran out of air, Florida authorities believe. A fourth diver who remained outside the wreckage, surfaced after nearly running out of air, and called for help.
Divers from surrounding boats were able to find one diver in distress. He was taken to hospital but later died.
The other two bodies were recovered Saturday (about 30 metres inside the USS Spiegel Grove**

* Died: Kevin Coughlin, Scott Stanley, and Jonathan Walsweer,
The diver who surfaced safely from the dive was identified as Howard Spralter,

** Spiegel Grove . Com - from Ocean Divers, Key Largo was sunk in 2002 to form an artificial reef off the Florida Keys.
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Old 19-03-2007, 13:28   #2
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Very sad to hear. Sounds like they got disoriented in a silt-out while doing a penetration dive down some interior (pumproom) passageways, one got out and surfaced, one almost got out but ran out of air, and the other two went the wrong way and never got out. These were experienced divers. conolences to their families and friends.
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Old 19-03-2007, 20:25   #3
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I was tought, many years ago, that one should run a line when wreck diving or in poor visability just like in cave diving. Getting lost in a wreck, I'm not sure I would call that "experienced".

I would have called that "assumtion of risk".
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Old 20-03-2007, 11:00   #4
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Last I heard, the use of wreck lines was being discouraged because too many lost/cut lines were littering up wrecks. Damfino, I was also taught to use a line for any kind of penetration dive. (And I'm too cheap to leave it behind on the way out.<G>)
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Old 20-03-2007, 12:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
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Last I heard, the use of wreck lines was being discouraged because too many lost/cut lines were littering up wrecks. Damfino, I was also taught to use a line for any kind of penetration dive. (And I'm too cheap to leave it behind on the way out.<G>)
Surely, with all those abandon lines, if existant, one would be able to find their way out and I too was taught to retrieve the line after use.

At 134 feet (4 atmospheres) one better have their air mixed properly. One can get vertigo fairly EZ in dark holes at that depth.

I remember on a night dive in La Jolla, CA once having to chase a guy who went over a ledge into a canyon he started sinking like a rock. All I could see was his light disappearing down into the darkness. When I caught up to him and showed him the depth gauge (115 feet) he was so disorientated he didn't know which way was up. I just grabbed the back of his bottle and started the assent. I never dove with the guy again!
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Old 20-03-2007, 12:32   #6
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I think the change was in the 90's, when there was a lot of ruckus about phantom trawl nets and plastics not degrading and "fishing" forever. That produced pressure to use manila or hemp instead of poly lines, so the abandoned lines would decompose instead of being litter and pollution, and then at some point...Who knows. Personally I would suspect PADI started to insist that you couldn't dive from their boats without a "PADI Hemp Line Certification" and divers just couldn't afford Yet Another Shoulder Patch.<G>

(You can see that the PADI I knew, and I, have different philosophies about some things.<G> To be fair...maybe one day they'll change. Or run out of shoulder patches.<G>)

WRT bubbles, our "FrogFather" admitted to having been narc'ed out only once. He got curious about why his bubbles were moving sideways and decided to follow them to see where they were going. Pure luck that he followed them to the surface safely!

Personally? There's "recreation" and there's "war", I follow different rules for each.
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Old 20-03-2007, 13:07   #7
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Three New Jersey scuba divers who died in a sunken ship off Key Largo yesterday failed to take a number of precautions during a risky dive, investigators said:

- entered “closed” areas of wreck (Stanley and Walsweer were found trapped some 135 feet below the surface in the ship's maze-like bowels, which are supposed to be closed off to divers)

- no dive plan (Spialter, the sole survivour, acknowledged he and his friends had not properly prepared for the dive)

- not enough staging tanks

- no wreck line

An excellent article on the proper use of reeled penetration/cave/wreck lines:

Learning the Ropes ~ Scuba Diving magazine
How trained tech divers use lines & reels to find their way into wrecks – and out of trouble.
http://www.scubadiving.com/article3027
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Old 20-03-2007, 14:21   #8
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Reminds me of when I was in Subic Bay (PI), went diving for a couple of days - plenty of fellow tourists all kitted up for wreck diving, seemed about 10 tanks each and double everything - gawd knows wot the excess baggage costs were

The local's attitude seemed to be that this was all a tad OTT, basically they said if we wanted to go wreck diving in the usual rental gear it was no problem for them - if we had an accident they would just come and get the gear later - it wasn't going anywhere .............different attitudes to risk in different places .........we stuck to the Landing craft and outside ONLY of the bigger stuff (I forget now wot else they have in Subic - some sort of Cruiser?).

It is amazing how benign serious trouble can seem underwater, got badly Narcced when tourist diving en-masse on the Rainbow Warrior down in NZ, I recall seeing my air going into the red and not being worried at all despite the vague notion that it was probably meant to mean something to me........oh yeah and I was gently swimming off and down into the WBY.....fortunately someone I did not know spotted me from above and swam down to fetch me..........I remember him looking at my guage and the concern on him, increased by my reluctance to follow his "suggestion" to go up.

Looking back, quite scary.........and me even a fully "trained" PADI Advanced Diver
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Old 20-03-2007, 15:16   #9
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Dave, I'm such a fossil I dive with a "J" valve because that's how I was taught to dive. Nowadays...Nah, they'd all rather sell you just a K valve and ohyeah, the $500 dive computer to monitor your air. Ain't gonna convince me that computer is more reliable, simpler, or more robust than a pull rod and a valve.<G>
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Old 20-03-2007, 16:22   #10
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I'm a beginner diver, and you guys are scaring me. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

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Old 20-03-2007, 16:35   #11
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The way we were taught, the instructor was up front about "if you screw up, you're dead" and equally level-toned about teaching us that for anything that can go wrong, there are usually two or three ways to deal with it. The only big trick is that you must remain rational and "dive the plan", including knowing your contingencies and exercising them in the appropriate order when something goes wrong.

In open water, even if EVERYTHING fails, you can always swim to the surface on the one breath you have in you. (Assuming you didn't just exhale 100%<G>). Case in point: Someone I know didn't maintain their regulator, was on the bottom in about 65' with a buddy nearby, and the diaphragm in the regulator ruptured and they inhaled some water. They panicked, bolted for the surface, spent the night in a chamber.
Without panicking, they could have simply sat still (no bends) and grabbed their octopus. Or, grabbed the buddy's air. Or the buddy's octopus. Or, made a controlled ascent holding their breath. Since the air in your lungs expands as you rise--you will be getting the feeling of "more air" as you rise, even without inhaling.
Instead, they bolted, and got bent. Panic hazing probably would have stopped that person from being certified and stopped them from having a lot of fun. But after that incident, they wisely gave up diving. Fortunately, no permanent harm.

Penetration diving, decompression diving, all the things that go beyond plain open water diving, add more risk. But anyone who can manage the food in their refrigerator without growing mold colonies, probably can manage their own dives safely. That just doesn't mean everyone. Some folks, are just better off ordering take-out.

As long as it doesn't include green onions from Jack in the Box.<G>
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Old 20-03-2007, 21:38   #12
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ID---you're right, being a little scared may be good, it keeps you cautious and prepared. If a lot scared, then skip the dive.

Everything in your Open Water book is there for a reason. Follow the "rules" (and dive with buddies who do the same) and diving's pretty safe. Don't follow them, and it isn't.

Casualty accounts are (in part) how we learn what to do, and what not to do. That's why there's such a discussion about them on the dive board web pages.

good luck with your diving. Gain your experience gradually, and be confident but not too confident, and you'll balance the risk with the rewards.
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Old 20-03-2007, 21:57   #13
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Hellosailor, you NEVER hold your breath while ascending. But you are right about open water diving - the definition of "open water" is that there is nothing solid between the diver and the surface - you should always be able to swim to the surface directly. You should not ever have the NEED to decompress either, that is outside of "open water" territory. A safety stop is always a good precaution, but a decomp stop should not ever be a necessity.

Condolences to the families and friends of these 3 divers.
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Old 21-03-2007, 10:36   #14
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I had only met him a couple times. Kevin Coughlin was restoring an oceanfront cottage in my village of Northport, Maine. I stopped by once out of curiosity to see the progress he was making. He was optimistic to be living in the house this summer.

We talked about motorcycles a bit as we both had BMW's for a long time. He suggested we head out for a breakfast ride this spring once the weather broke.

It is very strange to have known him so briefly and know that our paths will not cross again.

Live each day as if it was your last. It's OK to plan for the future but be sure you live in the present. I guess Kevin was living his life.

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Old 21-03-2007, 10:50   #15
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"Hellosailor, you NEVER hold your breath while ascending. " I never said to HOLD it, I just said the one breath that is in you--when you start the ascent. I figure the topic of the many ways you can blow out lungs is a bit more complex than we need to get into here. Except perhaps to warn the non-certified folks that yes, diving really can maim or kill you in ways that are totally unobvious to the untrained.
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