"GOD, I DON'T WANT TO DIE"


Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by . on April 28, 2004 at 10:44:56:

In Reply to: Missing Diver Interview posted by DebKarimoto on April 28, 2004 at 10:37:02:

"GOD, I DON'T WANT TO DIE"
Crew trainee on a ship off O.C. spots man in ocean who drifted for 5 hours.
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By BRIAN MARTINEZ
The Orange County Register

A feeling of powerlessness slowly swept over Dan Carlock as he drifted in the ocean for nearly five hours Sunday, seven miles from Newport Harbor. There were no signs of his scuba-diving group.

Four times, he noted the time of day on his small, waterproof writing slate and took photographs of himself to document that he'd made it to the surface and how long he had lasted at sea.

He worried about how his parents would react to his death. But he never lost hope.

"God, I don't want to die," he prayed, breaking down in tears. "I want to be saved. I need your help."

Carlock, 45, thought of a survival manual he read as a Boy Scout. Stay calm. Think methodically through the situation. He turned his head and feet east, toward land and away from where he last saw his companions.

Aboard the century-old tall ship Argus, crew trainee Zack Mayberry, 15, stood watch on the stern. The ship full of Boy Scouts was returning to Newport Beach from Santa Catalina Island and two hours earlier had to change its course because of heavy fog.

Mayberry thought he noticed a balloon or debris floating in the sea. He grabbed his binoculars to take a closer look. About 150 yards away, Carlock's head was sticking out of the water, and he was waving a bright, yellow-green tube.

Mayberry handed the binoculars to a friend.

"I wanted to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me," Mayberry said.

The friend confirmed it.

"Man overboard!" they yelled.

Carlock belted out a joyful "Yeah!" as he pumped his fists in excitement.

The Boy Scout troop from San Diego had drilled the rescue procedure just a day before, and this time it went like clockwork, First Mate Al Sorkin said. The crew quickly sent out a small motorboat to bring Carlock aboard.

The Scouts gave Carlock warm clothes, a sandwich and hot coffee.

Tuesday, Coast Guard officials were investigating why Carlock was found 11 miles from the dive location where Ocean Adventures Dive Co. of Marina del Rey reported him missing - and near the spot where the group had dived earlier in the day.

Carlock and three dive buddies had entered the water at about 8:45 a.m.

Carlock had problems equalizing the pressure in his ears and fell behind. He tried following his partners' bubbles, but he lost them.

He decided to end his dive after 15 minutes, but when he surfaced, he was 400 feet down current from an oil platform where the boat was anchored. He figured he couldn't make the up-current swim and decided to wait, blowing his whistle as loud as he could.

Carlock, a Santa Monica resident and spacecraft engineer for Boeing Satellite Systems, said he's dived about once a month since learning in 2002, but he hadn't gone out since December.

"I figured when the dive was over, they would realize I was missing and come looking for me," he said.

But they never came.

The group left that location and moved north to a shipwreck site six miles southeast of the entrance to the Port of Los Angeles, Coast Guard Petty Officer Collin Croft said.

The captain of the Sundiver, Ray Arntz, reported Carlock missing from the second dive location at 12:03 p.m., Croft said. The Coast Guard, the recreational diving instructors, Long Beach lifeguards and Los Angeles City Fire Department personnel searched for Carlock near the second dive location until hearing of his rescue in Orange County.

Arntz told officials that Dive Master Zacharias Araneta had accounted for all the divers before leaving the first location, Croft said.

Ocean Adventures Dive Co. owner Steve Ladd said Monday that he was figuring out what had happened and would seek to "turn a negative into a positive" by changing procedures, if needed. He declined further comment and could not be reached Tuesday.

Croft said he is determining if safety rules were violated.

"The Scouts definitely saved this man's life."

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