Posted by Jim Hoffmann on August 10, 2000 at 09:46:13:
My air began to suck hard, and I knew that I had less than ten minutes. God, would I like to hold my babies once more. Stop that! This must be the tenth dead-end. Not much time left. There's that big hump of stone again. Third time I've passed it. Must get control of myself. Think. Look at the sediment my flippers have kicked up,hanging motionless in the water. No current here at all. Another dead-end. It's hopeless. I decided I must prepare to die. I'd steel myself to die like a man, not tearing my fingernails out trying to scratch my way out like a wild animal. No more than six or seven minutes I hoped Charley was safe.
What's This? My light's going out. No Just mud. I had gone head first into the floor up my waist. Must find a clean place to die. I've had a full 54 years. Why should I complain?
But this is a hard way to die.
Is there an easy way?
Sure. Take the mouthpiece out. Shut up! There's still hope.
My friends were standing somewhere above waiting for me.They wouldn't be worried yet. They'd know I still had air. In a few minutes
they'd be plenty worried, but they'd be fools to go far from that opening None of had full tanks of air.
This is my tomb. Must hide my body in one of those blind holes. Or would the deep shaft be better? At least my family would be saved the expense of a funeral--that was one consolation. I must go calmly and intelligently, not like that man Ken Howe told me about who panicked and died with help beside him, or that poor kid who sucked his mouthpiece down his throat getting that last cubic certimeter of air.
Watch the surge of panic. I must die with the dignity of a man.
My flashlight grew dim. I shut it off for a while as I continued to kick my flippers slowly making each lungful of air last as long as possible. After ten or twelve kicks I'd usually run into a wall and follow it until it dead-ended. Then I'd turn around and swim in another direction. My air was pulling harder. I couldn't have much left. Must decide on a place to die.
I turned the flashlight on again. There's a dark hole. My coffin. Then the light went out completely and finally.
I must think about my children. That will keep my mind from snapping. I ran into a wall and began feeling my way along it. What's this! My god. A rope. It's the rope! Hope surged mightily and I began pulling myself along the rope.
I reach the end of the rope and I lay absolutely still. Wait, is that a current?It was a current, tugging at me gently, pulling me away from the end of the rope. This has to be the right way. The current can only go to the surface.
My God! A light! The opening! There's the weight we dropped down the hole; and the blessed shaft. Swiftly I approached the stream of bright light pouring through the shaft. I twisted by the weight and started up. Life--It's sweet.
This is an excerpt from the book The Cave Divers written by Robert F. Burgess, from the chapter called LOST.
This diver enter this cave without overhead training, he did not use a continuous guidedline, did not plan his air supply around the rule of thirds, did not have back-up lights, did not stay with his bubby.
Since most divers on this list feel that there should be no restictions of their personal freedom to dive the Yukon (a deep wreck with an overhead environment). Maybe the last thoughts of the diver above "Life--It's sweet" will ring a bell, and they will go out a get the deep dive training and the overhead training they need to dive this safely. Life it is sweet.
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