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Three divers lose their lives at Chac Mool in Riviera Maya. 2 Brazillian, 1 Spaniard

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by whereisthesea, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. mantadive

    mantadive Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Europe
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    @Quero: as you mentioned above, those injuries of the victims may arise from lung crack - I would suppose. Air from Sinuses would escape without any injury (pressupposing no reverse block exists). If total relaxation of the body happens, tongue closes air ways and prevents air from being escaped - lungs can crack,
    I guess. For this reason, head must be upright to slightly overstreched of an unconscious diver, who will be rescued from depth (I just remember from rescue
    course).

    (This is a very concerning accident).

    Furthermore, in the just mentioned video, the likely dive route of them is described. First, they probably did dive a circle - then turned into the left side. If just
    rounded the block, was it not possible to recognize the entrance/starting point again, because of incoming sunlight - before turning left? (I've never been there)
     
  2. scubawife

    scubawife Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY
    2,505
    137
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    I've done several cenote dives, including this cenote. It's been a few years since my last time in a cenote, but with the signage and permanent lines that are in all the popular ones, if you're entering the cave zone, you are aware of it.

    According to the shop's website, the guide only started with them this year. This isn't the shop I use in Akumal or for cenote dives, and I don't know their staff. I haven't seen any information saying if he'd been with another shop before Akumal Dive Shop, or anything about how long he'd been in the area, how much cave experience he had, or how much experience he had in the area cenotes. The staff section of their site just says he joined the shop this year and has "full cave diver specialty."

    No one will ever know why they chose to go into the cave, whether it was the guide's choice and the customers followed, if the couple wanted to go and he agreed, or if some combination of them went in and then the other followed when they didn't come back out soon enough. In any scenario I can think of, it all comes down to bad judgement. Don't go into the cave zone if you aren't cave certified. Even if the guide wants to take you and assures you it's no big deal, don't go. On the guides part, if he allowed a dive in there he was wrong to do so. He also made some serious mistakes regardless of what the scenario was. He was on his 3rd dive on the same set of AL80 doubles. He didn't use a reel when they went off the line.

    The husband had 200psi in his tank when he was found. He was going towards the exit. The guide and wife were sharing air and both were OOA. They were heading further into the cave. Perhaps if the guide started the dive with full AL80s, or even fuller ones, stayed on the line or used a reel, they would all have made it out.

    What any non-cave certified diver who's thinking about doing a cenote tours should take from this accident is that the grim reaper signs are at the cave entrances for a reason. The warnings on them to not go further if you aren't cave certified are not there just for fun. If you aren't trained to do so, no matter who you're with, stay out of the cave zone. The other take-away is to do your research and choose your guide wisely. I have no idea if this guide was good or not, or how much experience he had, I'm just saying that there's no shortage of cenote guides in the area, every dive shop has someone on staff or independent they can sign you up with. Do a bit of research and find someone experienced with a good reputation for safety who knows the cenotes you'll be diving in.
     
    divinglife, Quero and N2DeepInAz like this.
  3. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    49,281
    4,852
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  4. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The data on how the divers were found makes me worry they got into one of the worst scenarios I can imagine in cave diving -- a disagreement about which way was out. I had a friend, who used to post a great deal on this and other boards, who changed his system of cave diving because he ran into precisely such a situation, and was faced with a decision to abandon his buddies, who would not listen to him.

    There are a lot of things that are taught in cave classes, and almost all of them have to do with how to get OUT -- anybody can swim into a cave; training may be required to exit. The essence of cavern diving is that, if all else fails, you have a sure way to know where the exit is -- light. Once you are in the cave, that cue is gone, and you are reduced to dependence on much more arcane methods, like following a line (which, in MX, may go for long distances without an arrow on it to indicate exit direction) and reading the cave (which someone new to the cave will have trouble doing, even if cave-trained).

    Getting (and remaining) lost is a sure way to die. So sad that this guide took or allowed risks to be taken that aren't even acceptable for trained cave divers, let alone guiding clients.
     
    Pez de Diablo and Ayisha like this.
  5. spector39

    spector39 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Arkansas
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    Does anyone have a link to a map of the cave where the divers were found? I read there is one room in the cave section that contains the world's largest underwater stalactite. I wonder if this was where they were going?
     
  6. bleeb

    bleeb Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    1,688
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    Would anyone, especially experienced cave divers, like to comment on scenarios where the husband would still end up with a bit of gas left? It seemed a bit odd, unless you're willing the postulate a second emergency on top of being lost/too far in. A medical issue might be one explanation. At 200 psi, the regs might breathe harder but a person should still be able to forcibly suck the last 5 cf out of the tank, especially when desperate. Of course, panic could make someone less rational, but one would think if it's the ONLY source of air available, a person would suck it dry. Another significant possibility is that the gauge was wrong. Don't know how careful the rescuers or investigators were at making the measurement we're hearing about, or if it was more carefully measured after the initial 200 psi figure was circulated. Any other possibilities?
     
  7. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    6,176
    1,129
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    Doubtful. It is quite a ways back. My air consumption is neither good nor bad & I hit 1/3's in full double AL 80's not long after we got to the stalactite when I dove there in March.
     
  8. ianr33

    ianr33 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Wah Wah Land
    5,166
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    Do all the cenotes used for tours have Reaper signs? In other words, would a diver have to actively ignore a sign to find themselves in a cave?
     
  9. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Not all cenotes have the signs, and the signs are generally placed somewhere near the exit end of the main line, or at least on the rational path from OW or the cavern line to the main line. It is possible, at least in some places, to take an indirect route off the cavern line and reach the mainline without passing very close to one of the signs. I really don't remember this particular cave well, to know how open the passage is or how visible the sign is from the cavern line.
     
    ianr33 likes this.
  10. Michael Anthony

    Michael Anthony Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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    I did my first cenote dive with Ismael at Akumal Dive shop early in 2011. I think the "this year" reference is in the context of when they typed that into the website page. And so that in itself does not tell you which year he joined Akumal Dive Shop. Ismael knew the area cenotes well and I had every reason to believe he had a lot of experience (even in early 2011). I was doing all of my diving with a highly experienced instructor (who at the time was working for Akumal Dive Shop), however she is not cave certified and so we needed a caver certified diver for our cavern dives and Ismael was chosen. As I've stated previously in this thread; one of my vivid memories is coming up to the "death sign" in the cavern area with Ismael stopped and watching to make sure we both passed the sign without any wrong turn out of the cavern area into the cave area. Akumal Dive Shop is an excellent dive shop; I am a conservative diver and I had only positive experiences.
     
    divinglife and Ayisha like this.

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