Another Diving Fatality

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uwsince79

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Widow disputes drowning report
BY SCOTT JENKINS
SALISBURY POST
Early MAy

The wife of a Salisbury man who died Saturday while scuba diving off the Florida Keys says she finds it hard to believe an initial report that he died after swimming to the surface too quickly.And a fellow diver who was with James Lee Webb, 48, of 155 Oakridge Run,said he was swimming behind Webb and that Webb appeared to surface correctly
in the storm-churned ocean.
The Monroe County, Fla. medical examiner's office has not completed an autopsy, an official there said today.

A spokeswoman with Mariner's Hospital in Key Largo, Fla., said Saturday that emergency medical workers reported Webb had surfaced too quickly and his body could not adjust to the rapid change in pressure.

Jane Webb, the wife of James Webb, said her husband began diving in 1999, and that he "would never have done anything to put himself in a precarious position where he was going to endanger his life."
"Jim was very smart and knowledgeable about diving and he would not have made a mistake about coming up too fast," she said. "He was well-trained and cool-headed, and he would not have made that mistake."

Webb said a doctor at Mariner's called and told her that James Webb may have had some difficulty surfacing, and that he could have been experiencing chest pains.
Michael Smith, a China Grove man who was part of the diving group with Webb, said Webb didn't indicate to him while diving that he was experiencing any
difficulty.
He said Webb surfaced ahead of him and Smith's son and that he appeared to be fine.

After surfacing, Webb communicated with a dive boat crew while pulling himself along a line to the boat.
"The crew people said they were talking to Jim and that Jim was talking back to them," Smith said. "I was thinking everything was fine, because he was way up on the tag line."
Webb gave the crew a signal indicating he was out of air, and they told him to use his snorkel, Smith said.

A moment later, Webb rolled over in the water.
The boat's captain jumped in and pulled him on board the boat.
Everything happened quickly after that, Smith said. Emergency medical workers tried to revive Webb. The Coast Guard arrived and sped him to the
hospital.The doctor told Jane Webb they tried for a 1 1/2 hours to save her husband.

An electrician, James Webb worked in maintenance at Pepsi Bottling in Winston-Salem. He had worked at Abex/Federal Mogul in Salisbury for 17 years
until company officials announced the plant's closing in November.

He was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, where he served on the church council and property committee, was an usher and was active in the men's choir and the adult Sunday school class.His wife, a teacher at Erwin Middle School in eastern Rowan County, said he was "an outdoors person" - an avid deer hunter, a golfer and a "baseball fanatic" who never missed a Kannapolis Intimidators home game.

He and his daughter, Jancie, a junior at East Rowan High School, had season tickets to Intimidator's games, where Jane Webb worked summers. Their son,
Joshua, is a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Jane Webb said she and their children gave Webb diving lessons for Christmas in 1999. The family has a pool, and Webb had said he might buy scuba gear
just to sit on the bottom of it, she said.
He had helped train a group of boys in scuba diving at the Salisbury YMCA. He made his first trip to the Florida Keys last year. That's where he met Mike Smith.
"He just loved it; he said it was beautiful," his wife said.
Webb, Smith and several other local residents left Thursday night for the 15-hour drive to the Florida Keys. They had originally planned a night dive on Friday, but the weather turned rough and the group decided against it.
Instead, they would take the early dive on Saturday.

The group awoke around 6 a.m., ate breakfast and went out on the dive boat. They were part of a larger group of around two-dozen people, Smith said.
"When we started out, the sea was kind of calm ... but then the sea turned rough on us,"Smith said.
Conditions were more favorable underwater, though, and the group enjoyed a dive that took them down 80 feet below the ocean's surface.

After going to 60 feet, then 40 feet, Smith said Webb tapped him on the shoulder and showed him that he was running low on air. Smith and his son
had more air than Webb, because he had been down longer, Smith said. But they all surfaced together.

Once on the surface, he said, they had to pull against swells higher than 5 feet and against winds strong enough that the Coast Guard had issued a small-craft warning, telling boats not to come out on the water.
Still, he said, it was a shock when he got on board and found Webb unconscious. His family is shocked, too. They expected him back Sunday.
"I was expecting him to go down there and come back with a bunch of stories and pictures to show everyone," Jane Webb said, "and something happened to him. We just don't know what."
 

uwsince79

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MONDAY MAY 14 2001
Two divers lost at war wreck
BY STEVE BIRD

TWO divers were killed yesterday while exploring a
Second World War wreck off the Scottish coast. They were
among a party of four visiting a sunken submarine in the
Firth of Forth.

When the divers realised that one member had not
returned to them surface a second jumped back into the water, three miles off Dunbar, to try to find him. The alarm was raised a few minutes later when he also failed to return from the wreck, more than 200ft below the surface.

Police named the dead divers as James Harris, 36,
from Dunbar, and Richard Smith, 56, from Edinburgh.

It was unclear what had caused the accident but
experts speculated that the extreme depth may have been a
factor.
Coastguard officials said last night that they had
called off the search and asked lifeboats to return to Dunbar Harbour. Hugh Shaw, district controller, said: "Sadly we had to terminate the operation following two searches with the Royal Navy."

The diving group, all believed to be members of the
British Sub-Aqua Club, had been on a 35ft boat, the Lady
Angela.

-------------
[Note: The depth of the G&D is ~110']

>From Long Island Newsday Sunday 5/13/01

Man, 42, Dies
Scuba-Diving
by Michael Rothfeld
Staff Writer
A Long Beach man died in a scuba diving accident yesterday morning near a shipwreck site at the
bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, Suffolk police said.
David Scholl, 42, of Shore Road, left Freeport in a group of four divers and four crew members at 6 a.m. on a boat called the Sea Hawk, police said. The divers planned to explore the ruins of the G&D, a wreck 18 miles southeast of Freeport and west of the Fire Island Inlet.
"The sea conditions on the surface were near perfect," Frank Persico, the Sea Hawk's captain, said
last night. Visibility underwater was 15 feet, he said.
About 9 a.m., Scholl entered the water alone, which is not uncommon for experienced divers. His body, apparently lifeless, was found at 9:35 a.m. by another diver near the
bottom. That diver cut Scholl's scuba gear off him and brought him to the top. Scholl could not be
resuscitated, and a Coast Guard unit operating out of Moriches took Scholl by helicopter to the Nassau University
Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was pronounced dead.
Persico said Scholl was "a very strong diver" whom he had known for five years. Scholl, who was around 6 feet tall and weighed about 275 pounds, had explored the G&D many
times before.
Persico said Scholl drove a garbage truck in Nassau County and worked part time at the Scuba Depot, a shop in Mineola.
Many in the diving community knew him.
"He was a friend and he was a good person; he was a genuinely very good person," Persico said.
"And it makes me feel very bad." A woman who said she was a family member declined to comment when reached by telephone last night. Persico said he thought Scholl had a teenage son
and daughter, and was divorced.
The G&D, a wreck discovered 30 years ago by a fishing boat captain and named for two of his
passengers that day, Gloria and Doris.
According to a historian, during World War II five ships were cut in half, transferred to the East
Coast and reconstructed for shipping coal. Only one of the vessels, the Yankee, a steamer that crashed in 1919, fits the description of the G&D. The wreck is now known for
large lobsters that divers find there.
Det Sgt. Edward Light of the Suffolk County Homicide Squad said the cause of Scholl's death is not
yet clear. He said police divers would try to recover the scuba gear and are awaiting results of an
autopsy.
 

MichaelG

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deaths and more deaths.... :(

Being new to diving (only 5 dives so far), this sure scares the hell out of me. The one thing I've noticed is that most of these deaths occur when the diver is alone at some point or another during the dive. I can't see how some people are pro-solo diving. Is running out of air as common as it seems to be?? Do most people use double-tanks when they go deep or are most of these out-of-air incidents occur during single-tank dive??

--MichaelG
 

Mario S Caner

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MichaelG, your concerns are valid. Solo diving requires more training, maturity and concentration than buddied diving does, but as proved tens of thousands of times each year, can be done safely. Even the most experienced veterans have died in the water be it with a buddy or alone. We've seen plenty of double fatalities as well as a single diver in a group of three or four, lifeless on the deck of a boat or the beach.

My condolences to their families, may they rest in peace.

 

herman

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Michael, don't read too much into these accidents. If you will notice, 2 of the divers were over 40 and as of yet there are no final medical reports (at least not here). It is possible that these were actually heart attacks while diving. Don't get me wrong, one death is too many if it can be prevented but on the other hand is it fair to attribute a massive heart attack to diving? Kind of like blaming beds for people who die in their sleep. Can diving be dangerous? Sure, esp if you don't follow the rules, but if you follow the rules and don't dive above your training then you are most likley safer in the water than while in the car getting to the dive site. Remember there are thousands of dives done every year all over the world and actually very few deaths but when a death does happen, it make news in much the same manner as an airline crash. Are out of air situations common, well I guess they are more common than some of us would like to think BUT, it's also the easiest problem to avoid...WATCH YOUR AIR AND YOUR BUDDIES AS WELL!! Dive with me and I will worry the crap out of you about your air pressure and all by buddies do the same. Each of us knows how much air the other has and when one of us gets to our predetermined pressure, we are all leave together.

Mario, nice to see you back, wondered where you had gotten off to.
 
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Hey guys, I understand the thread is quite old, but I just found it, and I am the son of James Webb. Drowning was the official cause of death because that’s what happened last and I guess without seeing heart rhythm they can’t actually say heart attack. Autopsy reports indicated that heart attack was likely if not certain.
 

Ayisha

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Hey guys, I understand the thread is quite old, but I just found it, and I am the son of James Webb. Drowning was the official cause of death because that’s what happened last and I guess without seeing heart rhythm they can’t actually say heart attack. Autopsy reports indicated that heart attack was likely if not certain.

My condolences. Thank you for coming on here. I'm sorry for your loss.
 

chillyinCanada

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Hey guys, I understand the thread is quite old, but I just found it, and I am the son of James Webb. Drowning was the official cause of death because that’s what happened last and I guess without seeing heart rhythm they can’t actually say heart attack. Autopsy reports indicated that heart attack was likely if not certain.

Thought it's been a while, the feeling of loss remains. Thank you so much for coming to update us.
 

SlugMug

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deaths and more deaths.... :(

Being new to diving (only 5 dives so far), this sure scares the hell out of me. The one thing I've noticed is that most of these deaths occur when the diver is alone at some point or another during the dive. I can't see how some people are pro-solo diving. Is running out of air as common as it seems to be?? Do most people use double-tanks when they go deep or are most of these out-of-air incidents occur during single-tank dive??

--MichaelG
Context:

Keep in mind these incidents are collected from all over the world, a world with a population of about 7-billion people. Treat these as learning opportunities, and from a perspective of objectivity. Scuba is both very safe and dangerous. In some ways it's like driving a car, where if you are responsible you can prevent the majority of accidents, and take steps to reduce the severity of anything that might go wrong.

Out of Air:
Barring an equipment failure, divers should never find themselves suddenly out of air. With experience, you can get an intuitive sense of about how much air you have left depending on depth and time. However, you should be frequently checking your pressure gauge regularly even if you're fairly certain, and increase that checking-frequency significantly at depth.

Solo Diving:
When solo-diving, it's highly recommended to pursue training, experience, and have proper redundancy. With that redundancy, in some ways the diver is safer than the standard buddy-team. This usually includes at minimum redundant air-supply and redundant buoyancy. Additionally, depending on the dive-type, solo-divers may have other redundant equipment including mask, lights, cutting tools, dive-computers, dsmbs, and more to ensure they're able to handle the most-dangerous or most-common scenarios. You also want the skills and practice to confidently and comfortably handle potential oh-**** scenarios.

Further, responsible solo-divers should (and often do) avoid any scenario, where if something went wrong, they would be unable to handle it. For example, I personally set a depth-limit, avoid overhead environments, give entanglements extra space, and return to safety-stop depths with additional PSI.

Even if you do have a dive-buddy, there are many benefits to being self-reliant and able to self-"rescue." If your buddy isn't there, misunderstands signals, or does something irresponsible, you may have to self-rescue anyway. I dive with the exact same redundancy when buddy-diving.

Rule of 3s:
This is a concept I made up. The basic idea is that most accidents or incidents require 3+ things to go wrong, or be neglected at the same time. The details of this incident are too vague for me to analyze (it might be the random medical-incident, such as a heart-attack). However, in an standard out-of-air scenario it's usually: (1) didn't have a plan or follow it (2) didn't monitor air-supply regularly (or at all) (3) didn't have a redundant air supply or buddy nearby (4) dove beyond limits personal competence and experience.
 

markmud

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Context:

Keep in mind these incidents are collected from all over the world, a world with a population of about 7-billion people. Treat these as learning opportunities, and from a perspective of objectivity. Scuba is both very safe and dangerous. In some ways it's like driving a car, where if you are responsible you can prevent the majority of accidents, and take steps to reduce the severity of anything that might go wrong.

Out of Air:
Barring an equipment failure, divers should never find themselves suddenly out of air. With experience, you can get an intuitive sense of about how much air you have left depending on depth and time. However, you should be frequently checking your pressure gauge regularly even if you're fairly certain, and increase that checking-frequency significantly at depth.

Solo Diving:
When solo-diving, it's highly recommended to pursue training, experience, and have proper redundancy. With that redundancy, in some ways the diver is safer than the standard buddy-team. This usually includes at minimum redundant air-supply and redundant buoyancy. Additionally, depending on the dive-type, solo-divers may have other redundant equipment including mask, lights, cutting tools, dive-computers, dsmbs, and more to ensure they're able to handle the most-dangerous or most-common scenarios. You also want the skills and practice to confidently and comfortably handle potential oh-**** scenarios.

Further, responsible solo-divers should (and often do) avoid any scenario, where if something went wrong, they would be unable to handle it. For example, I personally set a depth-limit, avoid overhead environments, give entanglements extra space, and return to safety-stop depths with additional PSI.

Even if you do have a dive-buddy, there are many benefits to being self-reliant and able to self-"rescue." If your buddy isn't there, misunderstands signals, or does something irresponsible, you may have to self-rescue anyway. I dive with the exact same redundancy when buddy-diving.

Rule of 3s:
This is a concept I made up. The basic idea is that most accidents or incidents require 3+ things to go wrong, or be neglected at the same time. The details of this incident are too vague for me to analyze (it might be the random medical-incident, such as a heart-attack). However, in an standard out-of-air scenario it's usually: (1) didn't have a plan or follow it (2) didn't monitor air-supply regularly (or at all) (3) didn't have a redundant air supply or buddy nearby (4) dove beyond limits personal competence and experience.

SlugMug,

That was an excellent response.

Your rule of 3s isn't new and I believe the theory to be valid. My dad was an AC accident investigator. I have read some of his reports. Same thing. There always seems to be a chain of events that leads to disaster. Bridge resource management (adapted from aviation) tries to get mariners to break that chain of events, the #1 goal is to keep someone piloting the ship or flying the AC. Don't perform repair work while u/w or while the AC is aloft--use plan B. The second 737 Max crash was a classic example of cockpit management gone awry after the autopilot malfunctioned.

@MichaelG,

Plan your dive and dive your plan. When a diver has an issue, mechanical or otherwise, the diver needs to keep diving the plan, whether on redundant gear or his/her buddies gear. The plan should include an automatic "thumbing" of the dive when stuff goes wrong. Dive the plan (which includes contingency planning). Break SlugMug's rule of 3!

My Dad always warned me against "Get home itis". Don't head for home when things start going badly. Find a safe harbor or airstrip. Then worry about getting home. For divers, this means heading for the surface even if it was not your planned egress point. Surface swim from there.

cheers,
m
 
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