Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This is what gives diving a bad name

A 23 year old woman died while on her first Scuba dive in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. The reports says:

“She failed to resurface during the introductory "resort" scuba dive.
Frantic fellow divers tried in vain to resuscitate the young tourist after pulling her body from the water. Sergeant Graeme Pettigrew of Whitsundays Water Police said initial investigations suggested Ms Morrow had become separated from the group while diving and failed to resurface with the other divers. "The person involved was on a resort introductory dive. She was not an experienced diver," he said. "She became lost from the group."

Excuse me?
How can a ‘resort introductory dive’ be conducted in open water? I did mine in a pool after a training course.
You just don’t let a new diver near open water until they have had quite a bit of training – because the first thing any new diver does under water when anything at all happens is panic.
And if it was in open water you would not leave their side – literally. There should have been a Dive Master next to that diver during every second of that dive – simply because so many things can go wrong so quickly.
Usually what a new diver will do is knock their regulator out of their mouth. This will immediate swing round behind them and - for a new diver - will take some finding.
What they should do is grab their octopus – or someone else’s octopus – and breath from that while they find their regulator.
What a person on their first dive would do is panic and without help they will probably drown. 
Which is crazy because the surface is not more than 10 seconds and a couple of kicks away but if you are on your first dive you know nothing and without help you panic and die.
What a shambles. Leaving a diver alone on her first dive. 
The young woman's name was Elaine Morrow. She was Irish and was on a working holiday. This has made me so gloomy I have put a gloomy picture up for her. 


  1. Horrifying.

    May she rest in peace.

  2. How very sad. This is not the first such incident I've read. I panicked while snorkeling in open ocean. I get it.

  3. Very scary indeed. It is nice and sensitive of you to put a gloomy picture up for her.
    I worry about my son. He tries to do things without realizing the dangers. My daughter on the other hand will not swim without a life guard around.

  4. sad news. Strange that it seemed to be in some sort of large open water.

  5. and this is why i never want to go diving... the ocean is scary enough without depending on a tank on my back to keep me alive. that poor woman must have been absolutely terrified in the last few minutes of her life.

  6. This is very sad. Unbelievable.

  7. Tragic accident which could have been avoided with a bit of common sense from those in charge.

    Congrats on the blog of note by the way :)

    Duncan In Kuantan

  8. Congratulations on your Blog of Note award! :-)

    Wishing you safe Easter Holidays,

  9. I hate reading this. My husband learned to dive in a pool and after a few days went out into open water. Everything was find, but I was preggo and terrified. It's been about 2 years and now he says he want to start up again. Gah. What an aweful hobby.

  10. Gosh: Thanks you all for commenting. Actually - to those who are worried. Diving is very, very safe as long as you are well trained.

  11. Resort course dives are USUALLY conducted in open water after a preparatory session in a pool. They are conducted in water less than 12m deep and with no more than 4 students to an instructor. From all the reports that I have read this is pretty much what happened. The only thing that occured is that the unfortunate student somehow seems to hav ebeen separated from the instructor which does happen sometimes when the visibility is reduced. While I feel for the family and friends of the victim I would prefer to see the instructor not pilloried. At this stage all the inquests have not been finalised and there is no firm evidence that the instructor has done anything wrong

  12. Diver: Thanks for that: Perhaps I was overcome by the sadness of the event.