Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Captain Tim Burke on September 02, 2003 at 07:45:36:

What is the life of a fellow dive buddy worth? I was appalled to find out this weekend. For a stupid F**ing camera, worth around $10,000.00 a diver let his wife almost drown.
This "buddy team" has been diving for many years. They have been on my boat many, many times. They dive all around the world. He takes fantastic pictures, and she goes with him. They both wear DUI dry suits. Then a problem happened, and like most accidents it was a series of events that lead to the problem
First off, her air was off and no one checked it. Then as she jumped off the boat and gave that stupid ok sign (that PADI started) and she went under water. At some point her one of her fins came off. She did not drop her weight belt. Some how she got back to the surface. DM Dave Clark saw her and yelled get out of my way. He put his fins on (I thought he was wasting time, as she was only 10 feet from the boat, I WAS WRONG) and jumped in to get her. As he yelled I saw her. She could barely keep her head above water (no snorkel and the water was choppy) and white froth was coming from her mouth. Dave got to her in seconds. (When a captain sees this, it as an eternity, and you get that shitty feeling deep inside). Her "buddy" came up only feet from her. But he was too busy with his damned camera to help her. Dave tried to inflate her BC but could not. It was that he could do to hold her up. Remember she was wearing a dry suit and who knows how many pounds she had on. She has a very unique weight belt and Dave could not drop it. We had a full crew and two crewmembers were on the swim step to help her. I went in and set up the O2.
We got her inside and I took the second captain aside (Don from the "Reliance") and we talked as to call CG or not. We decided to wait a few more minutes. We took her inside and took off the top of he dry suit and put a blanket on her. She was scared, and pail. She said she thought she was going to get sick, we said ok, don't worry about it. By this time all the froth was gone and she her color was coming back
I did not think that she should dive anymore, but she and her "buddy" did dive the next day. I almost went to her and told her that perhaps she should fine a new dive buddy.
If it had not been for DM Dave Clark, I have no doubt that she would have drown. As I said she did not yell for help or wave or anything. Dave is the kind of DM I look for. He stays out of the way when not needed, and gets right into the middle of it when the shit hits the fan.
One last thing. Not one person has dropped his/her weight belt or any other equipment on any accident that I have seen. Please remember, not even a $10,000.00 camera is worth your life, all your personal items can be replace: you can not.
Once again thanks Dave.

Captain Tim Burke
Great Escape Charters

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