Posted by Don Lake on August 06, 2001 at 13:28:05:
After last weeks posts by MHK and Ken, I was asked to followup my conversation with the dive instructor who works at Casino Point every day. He again reported to me that he has helped pull out over 18 seriously distressed divers. Many of those he noted probably died. He feels the number of deaths in that group to be at least 9-10. He also reported to me the recent death several days ago.
He noted to me that amoung the rescue-paramedics on the island, the park is referred to as "Death Park".
He then told me numerous stories of seeing instructors smoking and drinking beer between dives. He occasionally walks around taking the beer out of their hands to their displeasure. When you meet him you realize that no one would argue with this technique. He was formally in the Army and was part of the troops that helped rescue the Rangers when the Blackhawk went down in Somilia.
He even told a story of an instructor who came to the dive trailer to pay for his students tanks. The instructor pulled out his wallet and a small baggie of white powder dropped out. He was summarily terminated from further renting gear and was asked to leave the area forthwith.
While I was being told these horror stories at the Casino I saw a diver suited up who had to be at least 125 lbs. over weight. I was thinking to myself-what instructor would let this guy dive? I learned several hours later while boarding the Cat Express to come home that he was the instuctor for a LA dive shop!
Clearly the image we have of dive instructors being fit, intelligent and responsible is not always correct.
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