Out of air incident-psychological perspectives.

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MaxBottomtime

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I'm glad you were able to help in that situation, but I would not have stopped for a safety stop. The victim was already showing signs of distress and obviously wanted to make it to the surface. Stopping that progress made things worse.
 

boulderjohn

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Even had to tell the machine gunner to return fire because eje was in such shock that he wasn’t thinking straight.
In WWII, the army for the first time in history embedded historians with the troops, and a couple of them engaged in a new technique--interviewing the soldiers immediately after a battle to try to understand what had happened. They learned something shocking--a high percentage had never fired a shot. That led to a series of changes in training (etc.) to try to lessen the degree to which that happened. Your training was very different from the training of a WWII fighter as a result of that.
 

boulderjohn

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Adding to what I wrote above....

I used to do some citizen ski racing, and I took some racing lessons. Those lessons emphasized the importance of regular breathing throughout the race. They said that people have a tendency to hold their breath during a race, and they explained that even in an event as short as a ski race, the resulting CO2 buildup can be debilitating.
 

Jafo19D

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In WWII, the army for the first time in history embedded historians with the troops, and a couple of them engaged in a new technique--interviewing the soldiers immediately after a battle to try to understand what had happened. They learned something shocking--a high percentage had never fired a shot. That led to a series of changes in training (etc.) to try to lessen the degree to which that happened. Your training was very different from the training of a WWII fighter as a result of that.
For me it was combination of muscle memory and constantly evaluating what I do if we got hit here and repeat that analysis every 20-30 seconds. As for the muscle memory many times I raised my rifle, moved the selector switch to fire, shot, lowered the weapon and put it back in safe without even having to think.
 

Divin'Papaw

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May 8 2021, West Palm Beach

After approximately 50 minutes at 60 feet of water I saw an elderly gentleman in distress. He was holding his regulator in his hand and mouthing the words "I'm out of air!" Several divers were around but did not notice or were in denial about what was happening. (True emergencies are rare and mixed in with a lifetime of ordinary events). I put my regulator in the divers mouth and checked his gage which was indeed empty. I had about 1000 lbs of air left so I planned to make a slow ascent and even do a safety stop. During the ascent, the diver appeared mildly panicked but was acting erratic. He took the regulator out of his mouth several times during the ascent and tried to give it back to me. I continued to give him the regulator and made the ascent with the assumption that he was cognitively impaired from anxiety and probably could not assist in a controlled ascent. He could not. I had to deflate his BC several times and pull him down to prevent him from shooting to the surface. I was able to do a one minute safety stop with him but chose not to continue due to his rapid breathing. One of the experienced divers I was with became task fixated on untying a knot on the spool of the surface marker. I believe was related to the stress of the event. We were able to reach the surface unharmed but the diver was still impaired and unable to inflate his BC without help. I declared an emergency to the boat which initially angered staff because it appeared not to be an emergency. (They saw three conscious divers on the surface.) Once on the boat, the affected diver had full body tremors from anxiety and emotional distress but physically unharmed. He and his wife were very appreciative at the dock and vowed never to dive again.

Psychological aspects to consider:

1) Several divers present who were in denial of the out of air incident. Emergencies are rare and people are less likely to act when in a group compared to being alone.
2) Panic can impair judgement- Not a new concept but remarkable to witness first hand. -The diver removing the regulator from his mouth several times during ascent
3) Task loading under stress- Diver become fixated on unimportant task- Untying a knot during rescue
4) Staff on boat seeing three conscious divers declaring an emergency-"True emergencies are rare and mixed in with a lifetime of ordinary events."

Kudos to you for coming to his aid. Well done! He may possibly be alive today as a result of your assistance.

Do you mind sharing who you were diving with? Also, any idea how much experience he had?

My two real-world out of air incidents (my dive buddy ran out of gas, not me) were a complete cluster and even though he was properly trained he full on panicked both times. Things went south very quickly.
 

lowwall

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I used to do some citizen ski racing, and I took some racing lessons. Those lessons emphasized the importance of regular breathing throughout the race. They said that people have a tendency to hold their breath during a race, and they explained that even in an event as short as a ski race, the resulting CO2 buildup can be debilitating.
I was on a couple of ski race teams. I can't imagine trying to ski any distance while holding your breath given the PP02 at typical ski area elevations.

But, taking this problem from the vital (combat and scuba) to the truly trivial... My kids are 12 and 7, so I've spent a lot of time on playgrounds in the past dozen years. At one point I noticed I was breathing really hard after getting off a tower slide. You guessed it, I was holding my breath every time I got on a slide, whether they were 3' or 100' long with 2 twists. It only became apparent on the long ones.
 

boulderjohn

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My two real-world out of air incidents (my dive buddy ran out of gas, not me) were a complete cluster and even though he was properly trained he full on panicked both times. Things went south very quickly.
That is the primary reason that one-regulator buddy breathing is no longer taught by most agencies. If it was a cluster with your well-trained buddy using your alternate, think would a cluster it would have been if you were taking turns sharing a single regulator. I would much rather do a CESA than rely on a panicked OOA diver sharing a regulator.
 

Jayfarmlaw

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Once again.....we all dive alone. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

Nice save OP.

Jay
 

Wibble

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Ugh, buddy breathing. Utterly hated that during my trimix training -- in calm training conditions. I doubt very much that buddy breathing's going to be successful in most cases: two people on the edge of panic after multiple failures have occurred to leave two people breathing off one single tank. Even with experienced technical divers it's dubious.
 

dmaziuk

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At one point I noticed I was breathing really hard after getting off a tower slide. You guessed it, I was holding my breath every time I got on a slide, whether they were 3' or 100' long with 2 twists. It only became apparent on the long ones.

Holding your breath tends to make you flex abdominal muscles and add rigidity to the torso. There's a lot of that in martial arts, all the way to spin-offs like chi-gong that's essentially a moving breathing exercise with no fighting elements left in it.
 
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