I was there...

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

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Posted by Dazedone on April 26, 2004 at 19:08:01:

In Reply to: Re: Sun Diver Left Diver? posted by Hank on April 26, 2004 at 18:07:57:

I was on the Sundiver and watched it all go down. Here is an excerpt from my log book.

Live and learn, or better yet, learn and LIVE.

...Got back on the boat a minute or 2 after my buddy, the DM did a roll call and one of the divers was missing. due to the fog, visiblity was about 500 feet. Ray called the CG and a search ensued. Could not find him anywhere. Divers were sent down to survey the wreck, he was not there. Turns out the DM screwed up the roll call and we left him back at the last site! Scary part is the DM slate had him out of the water at the last site and back in the water at the next site! Apparently he got separated from his 3some, the other 2 in the 3some assumed he had his own buddy so they did not notice him missing. He drifted for 4 hours and ended 3 miles away from the last site where a sailboat happened upon him and pulled him out. It looked like the Coast Guard was not too thrilled with the DM. At least the diver made it out alive. What a mess.

This dive shop is going to have to heavily revise it's DM policy. The DM and the shop owner are going to have to sit me down and explain to me what corrective action has taken place before I will book another trip with them. This shop does 50+ charters a year and has never had an incident like this before. I happen to like the folks at this particiular shop and have gone out on several very good trips with them and gotten some good gear advice.

I am not going to reveal who this DM is as he is a very cool guy and a fantastic instructor. There is no point in naming him unless he wants to come on the board and tell his side of the story. We all make mistakes and have bad days, but on the other hand, this diver could have died. Thank God this diver stayed calm, didn't panic and did all the right things (I'm not sure I would have been able to remain that calm floating around in the fog with ships passing around) Also, this DM was not the only person DM'ing that day.

Ray did a superb job handling the situation and this incident was in no way his or his crew's fault.

In my opinion, there were breakdowns in alot of areas but I do NOT have ALL the facts. I can only report what I saw and I did not see everything.

Lesson learned: make sure the person who you think is your buddy thinks the same as you. Review buddy procedures and make sure your DM is taking his job very seriously!

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