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

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on June 28, 2006 at 17:52:40:

In Reply to: Do diving deaths go unreported due to tourism concerns?.... posted by JR Gordon on June 27, 2006 at 21:40:22:

I don't think there's any deliberate supression of the information. Don't confuse bad reporting or lack of follow-up with a deliberate attempt to distort the facts.

In fact, through the LA Coroner, the Chamber, and myself (we act as Forensic Consultants to the Coroner), we are trying to figure out better ways to publicize the reports that we do for scuba fatalities. We collectively believe that the more available this information becomes, the better chance the public has to hear it, learn from it, and dive more safely.

That's why we did the "Why Divers Die" panel at the Scuba Show this weekend where we detailed 3 real cases (including a very suspicious-circumstance one) from the past year. We had a packed house. Literally standing-room only.

For the record, there are roughly 100 scuba deaths annually to US citizens, either while diving in the US or diving aboroad. This would include anyone who has a heart attack as well as those who drown. If you're diving and you die, regardless of the cause, you're included in that number.

For LA County, we average about 5 a year. (Remember this does NOT include Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, or San Diego counties. Add those in - considering that covers what we'd call SoCal - and the average is probably the dozen or so that Michael mentioned.) Here are the LA County numbers for the past few years:

2003 - 4
2004 - 3
2005 - 5
2006 - 1 (to date)

Hope that helps clear up any misconceptions.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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