A Quickly Developed Diving Disaster [Video]
Diving disasters, although rare, can quickly occur out of the blue.
The video referenced below is an illustration of how quickly a diving disaster can develop. On this particular dive, which was their deep advanced dive off Millers Point SA, everything seemed to go wrong almost immediately.
It begins with an instructor who busted an eardrum and shortly thereafter one of the divers goes into a panic and it really goes down hill from there..
After watching this video a few times I began to notice a few weird occurrences such as the prevalence of what is called a dogie-paddle swimming technique throughout much of the video. I also noticed that the divers appeared to be wearing an excessive amount of weights which could have possibly precipitated the entire event.
Watch this video clip below and share any observations you may have with us.
Sometimes… you just got to know its time to call the dive.
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Just curious. What do you consider a “deep advanced dive”?
Phil Lindale Reply
I would say that any dive that requires decompression stops would fall into that category.
NAUI – Any dive deeper than 18m to max 40m. BUT I think reading this that it was meant that it was a deep dive for Advance Students/ Divers?
Sue B Reply
While I agree the divers look over-weighted it may not be as bad as you estimate. They are using Bright Weights (common in South Africa) and each is 0.5kg not 1kg.
What dives had the guy done and what depth if you have a problem with not clearing your ears why continue to go deeper knowing he could burst his ear drums this comes under basic diving technics , so should he be diving if he does not know the basics ???????.
Sad sad sad, ear drum guy maybe you should have stopped the decent and surfaced when the instructor told you to, then he could have paid some attention to everyone else. You seem to put this all on Wasseem and he may have panicked but you quite frankly put it all into motion with the poor decisions you made like not doing anything you I hope have been trained to do, like stop decent at first sign of discomfort and of course surface once you did blow out your ear or surface when your instructor told you to.
Mark Wood Reply
I’m a DM out of NC.I also wonder why he kept decending not being able to equalize, and they were way to far seperated.I think the one instructor realizes this after things start falling apart
I have been a divemaster on many deep dives here in the northeast USA and I can see alot differences in this video from the way we used to do dives .
1) one of the divemaster would have established a decent line for all the divers to follow to the bottom and be able to control their decent.
2) No one decends head first this is a recipe for disaster.
3) once on the bottom we give the students time to acimatize and get boyancey correct .
4) all the students stay together with the instructor and divemaster they do not separate.
5) first thing you do is give the ok sign to a diver with issues when they do not respond back you know they are in trouble ( head is not on straight )
6) this dive went on way too long and not once did I see anyone exchange the ok sign …. I did see a hands up in the air to kinda signal what seemed to be I don’t know what is going on .
6) where were the divemasters?
7) with a class once one diver goes up all divers go up you don’t leave students on the bottom .
8) the guy filming has something wrong with one of the seals on his second stage it sounds like . It shouldn’t be making that wisp sound every time he breathes
9) if this dive Was in the waters of the northeast where I from it would have been a disaster those other divers would not have even been vissable average visibility here is about fifteen to ten feet sometimes twenty on a good day.
10) like it was stated before these divers do not look like they have much experience at all possibly fresh open water students who just jumped into an advanced class before gaining any experience.
Totally in agreement with Craig. Proper supervision by staff from the start would have caused the abort of this dive before any incidents occurred.
Over weighted, and just not ready for the dive! Don’t go past your comfort level,.
Dive master/instructor plowing through the coarse, without teaching, or understanding the students they are responsible for. If you allow your student to be in the water what appears to be way over weighted, you are not doing your job.
Have been a divemaster, and helped instruct, and the worst thing you can do is push people past their level of comfort as seems to be the case here.
From an Instructor it started at the lack of a simple weight check at the surface, the decent! in no way was it controlled, Hassem was overweighted you could obviously see that as he was treading really hard and at moments still sinking and making alot of bubbles from heavy breathing the ear drum guy should have been escorted back to the boat, there aree alot of areas where they all could have been alot more prepared prior to the dive too. I have over the years seen many panicked situations and have been amazed each and every time how you just know what to do when you need to and so will each of them my hope is they learned from this experience and would endeavour to be better prepared going into their careers coz it xan be great when you pay proper attention it is after all the least natural thing for humans to be doing and the nature of this sport calls for absolute 100% attention to detail its not always going to be perfect but these guys could have been alot more prepared than that c’mon lol
Eardrum Guy descended like a maniac, no wonder he could not clear properly.
Nobody descended as buddies, it was a clusterbomb descent without any close monitoring or hand signals.
Sounds like bad gear from the camera guy, get it serviced before deep dives, maybe wasseems panic was from gear failure also.
At the sign of first problem the dive should have been aborted as a group, it just kept going on and on.
Looked to be some serious over weighting of divers.
There did not seem to be any signals or buddy recognition at the descent line bouy, it was a splash and dash for the bottom.
02 could have been administered immediatley as wasseem seem to faint which is serious after an ascent. and as all divers were on board the engines should have been started and heading back in in the chance that wasseeem health worsened.
Not surprising it went wrong, clearly inexperienced divers not properly adhering to any kind of buddy system and dive professionals either overestimating their clients ability or being incompetent.
So many things done badly by all and already listed by others, but did anyone spot how badly the instructors gear is assembled? He has a DSMB and reel clipped right in front of his octopus, making it pretty inaccessible for someone to grab.
Lots of alarm bells on this one but thankfully no one was hurt.
cameraman was breathing extremely fast too.
Oh Sooo many issues with this dive.
It appears that the divers were not ready to do this deep dive (th start with).
Too much extraneous gear on the divers.
The diver who was recording this had a regulator that sounded lie it was not maintained/adjusted properly.
What happened to the “Buddy System” I see divers all over the place. On a deep dive, especially with new divers, the buddy should not be any more than an arms length away.
When the Ear Drum blew the dive should have been aborted at that point.
What happened to the “Emergency Plan?
Why was the injured diver not given Oxygen immediately?
This video is a textbook example of what is wrong with so much of the dive industry today. These guys were ostensibly training for an advanced certification, but from the look of their equipment layout, trim, comportment in the water, they were barely comfortable in the ocean.
The dive industry(sic) has devolved into an entity that is entirely devoted to separating the diver from his/her paycheck. Not making competent, safe, and knowledgable divers.
I see it all the time, crank them through simplified, dumbed down courses. pay no attention to basic swim training and fill them with overconfidence by awarding novice divers with the barest understanding of proper technique “advanced” certifications.
Good training takes time, requires real effort and costs more. An extra few hundred bucks invested in quality instruction makes a safe, confident, sound diver.
When my son was ready and wanted to learn there was no question what we were going to do. As such he’s an excellent diver; calm, safe, prepared, and knowledgable.
I see a lot of so-called “Master divers” that are a yard sale on the boat and complete fools underwater.
You get what you put in.
You couldn’t be more right. You would be appalled by the way education is handed here on Guam. We have a steady supply of new divers trying their hardest to complete the required amount of dives in order to sign up for IDC. The shops here push the instructor course to everyone. Almost every IDC class is full of people still waiting on their DM paperwork to be finalized. We have nothing but inexperienced divers teaching and it’s frankly embarrassing. Being a DM myself, I refused to work here because it’s dangerous and makes me look bad.
I am glad I had good instruction.
Better to dive safe than sorry.
Looked like the leaders weren’t sure what to do.
ALWAYS investigate the dive shop that is taking you out.
Do they service the gear regularly.
If it’s your gear, do you?
I am going to play devil’s advocate for just a second and point out that it’s very difficult for a dive operator to judge someone’s abilities before taking them diving.
They rely on that certification card. Yeah you always talk with the customer, but most will downplay any issues out of peer pressure. I’ve never once been asked to show my log book to any dive operator. So honestly- what they have in most resorts is a C-Card and a quick chat to go on. If it’s a hotel resort maybe a pool to do the weighting in…but that’s fairly rare.
So I can totally see how this group came to be on a boat for a deep dive when at least a couple of them clearly shouldn’t have been.
I have frankly seen worse descents by a group on a boat. The dive master lost control pretty quickly- but the group he was guiding just fell apart on the guy. He had divers with issues all over the place, and being deep- had ascents to worry about too. He was just pulled in so many directions at once that even aborting the dive was difficult to coordinate.
The way everyone was huffing, combined with the depth, means this would have been about a ten minute dive at best any way.
Remaining in the water while injured was a mistake and it clearly distracted the DM who then wasn’t available to the other divers.
But overall the DM did what he needed to. He dealt with each situation calmly and brought everyone back to the boat. I can now pick apart his performance in retrospect- but as it was happening, that DM dealt with the deteriorating situation fairly well. I think he did signal for the cameraperson to surface- so that’s a case of flat out ignoring the DM.
Many mistakes. But some of them are sadly unavoidable in the real world of dive operations in resort areas.
Any experienced DM or instructor can tell whether they are dealing with an inexperienced, nervous, out of their depth diver just by observing their body language and the way they go about setting their gear up, if there are any doubts a shallow test dive should be conducted before even considering a deep dive.
Yes.i agree.. a good DM understands his divers first
I have dived all over the world and only once has a DM checked out my skills before diving. We were in the Maldives and before we even left the dock, the DM had us get into the water, pull out/recover our regs and flood/clear our masks. We were very impressed! He expected us to be upset and tried to justify it by saying that just because we had our AOW certs, it didn’t necessarily mean we were comfortable in the water. We explained that he didn’t need to justify anything and we were quite happy to perform the skills…he was pleasantly surprised and said normally divers get offended and defiant when he asks them to do it. I wish more dive operators did the same and to heck with the divers’ attitudes!
Maldives is a great place to dive and most areas have the highest standard. Vilamendoo divers take every diver for a check dive regardless of ability or qualification, included in this is a 15 minute dive, weight check, equipment familiarisation, mask clear , buddy breathing task swapping regs and an smb launch. As a single diver diving for a week with multiple buddies I knew I would be diving with divers that had basic skills good enough for the environment they were in. Also there was a full log book check with cert cards checked for nitrox etc. Got to say it was worth an hour out of my week to be safe, just wish this was the norm.
If this dive was part of a course then why was he allowed to use a camera at all? Any course I’ve ever done (except underwater photographer) cameras are banned to reduce task loading and ensure students are focused on the dive.
The instructor had a tricky situation to deal with but there’s a lot of clues suggesting slack safety standards and planning, and that the dive maybe was poorly briefed as well. PPPPPP
This just pisses me off.
We dive every year in Jamaica. Every year the dive staff check us out on a shallow dive before they allow us on the deep dive. You need the card to go on the deep dives, but you also need to get checked out, every year. It keeps everyone safe and keeps the yahoos from ruining the advanced dives.
Complacency kills. Video guy, you were in as much trouble as the other fella. Scared that you are supposedly DMs while you still post this video and comments because you haven’t learned from your mistakes. This was not a ‘normal everyday dive’. This was a clusterf..k. Learn proper weighting, learn neutral bouyancy, learn proper trim, learn proper communication, learn proper buddy skills. Don’t you dare take novice divers into the water until you can keep yourselves safe. Complacency Kills!
I just want to know what dive shop was this in South Africa & what agency ?
Their tanks say “duck and dive” which is a shop I dived with once when I lived in South Africa. We wore two wetsuits (a shorty over a full suit) because the water is freezing cold (in the 50’s so technically not “freezing” but it feels like it!) so we were definitely weighted more heavy than what I was used to but even with that these divers looked waaaay heavy!
Seriously this video is a defaming tactics and discouragement for new Scuba diver, the instructor and his Agency is wholly responsible if they don’t come out and accept the responsibility and action taken not to let this kind of scenario repetition… This video missing the name of Instructor/Agency and the rest of the fellow diver to make it authentic
so many dodgey operations out there. If that was a course what a sham!
A deep dive is defined as any dive over 18metres
There was a decent line and it wasn’t used.
The instructors didn’t control the decent (hence the burst eardrum)
I always tell my class I’m the first to descend and the first to ascend. Gives u the opportunity to make sure everyone is decending ok and not panicing. At the bottom the instructor should of made sure everyone was within arms reach of each other
First signs of problems (like the guy struggling to equalize BEFORE he burst his eardrum) instructor should of been onto it with a controlled decent and cancelled the dive by having everyone ascend
When the instructor was ascending with Wasseem what kind of grip did he have on him? Grab the guys bcd strap and hold it tight the entire way up, you can see he’s panicked so keep him under control till he surfaces drop your air from bcd star out and make him tire himself out trying to drag you up
No oxygen at the surface WTF
I’d avoid that dive shop like the plague
I have dived this wreck in SA and it sits at 30m to the seabed. I am a BSAC UK diver, Dive Leader qualified to 50m . Looking at this video I was appalled. When I dived there with a PADI school they were allowing newly qualified Open Water divers with 6 dives logged to do this dive as part of their Advanced training ….. shocking, and one guys equipment was not working correctly. His contents gauge wasn’t working. All the DM said was… oh you are good on air we can go off mine!!! What!! There is a big difference between 18 & 30m. I had to rescue one of the divers who panicked on the sea bed, and once calmed down had to hold her hand for the rest of the dive. Money is driving some of these ‘holiday’ school and it is giving diving a bad name. I dive all year round mainly in the North Sea in a dry suit, and I worry when I go on holiday who I might get for a buddy!
I understand completely. I have been YMCA and SSI trained. I don’t understand PADI training. Their courses are way too short especially their “resort course” where you are “trained” in a pool for a couple hours, at best, and then they throw you in the ocean. I once was at a quarry diving with my husband & daughter when this man cane to us and asked if he could dive with us. We said sure as the quarry is mainly about 30ft deep, used for training. This diver had one problem after another, just trying to get ready for the dive, mainly because of his nerves, which leads me to believe he was not experienced at all. When we finally descended, we lost sight of him due to water clarity and lots of other divers present. After a quick 360 search for him we ascended, only to find him up on the dock. He decided to abort the dive, thank god, but he didn’t tell us. From that point on, we decided we would not allow anyone to be our dive buddy unless we know them. Just curious, if something had happened to that diver, would we have been responsible for him??
Bouyancy control seems poor, for most of this group. Look at how much contact they have with the life on the wreck.
Clearing issues can surprise you, I often descend fast head down – usually no probs but every often have to hold clear or even ascend a bit. better to go slow the first few feet where the volume change is greatest.
Check their breathing rates, they don’t seem that comfortable in the water. Almost 100 feet in real open water? With so few dives? And inexperienced “divemaster/instructor”? Hate to be this operation’s insurance company rep.
Of course, the operation probably sells this stuff as a “4 star” something.
Doug your a dickhead ! Not holding or using the descent line. Its there for control. Continuing to dive after bursting an ear drum you should have signalled and been on the way up.
If You think the girl nikki is the one keeping everyone calm you are a even dumber than you first appear.
The girl nikki that hand waseem her alternate air source at 4:40 in the video clearly hand it to him and gets it in his mouth upside down causing him to inhale water. Its no wonder he rejects it. This action caused the whole situation to get a lot worse some one who is already clearly panicked. I love the way she shrugs he shoulders like she done nothing wrong and can’t understand why he didn’t want her air. This is basic i can’t believe all these other so called experts commenting haven’t picked up on this detail.
Seriously if you guys are going to be dive masters i don’t think i ever wanna dive with you.
This is painful (but educational) to watch. I can’t count the weights but the diver never seems to be in control of his buoyancy. Just looks like a mess. And the diver filming… idk what problem was but if I heard that I would be signaling to go back up for investigation. Water is pretty murky, divers descending on guide line would have been better idea. This just had no markings of an advanced water dive.
A great video on how NOT to do things. Hope you are all really okay.
So many things where not right before.. During.. The whole dive was an accident waiting to happen.
I have taught for 25 year’s.. This made me angry… Diving will take your life if you don’t respect it..
The video says it’s quickly developing diving disaster. But it doesn’t seem all that quick to me. 1) from the video it doesn’t appear they did any buddy checks at the surface to final check weight, give OKs to the boat or anything. It also appears the solo instructor is the only non novice on the dive, and maybe Nikki but she just seems to be a level headed more experienced novice(the only one ready for the class) 3)The instructor appears to enter the water with all the students at once, while the guys with the camera swims under the boat (not a great idea) The instructor doesn’t check everyone before people start descending. They just all begin to descend. 2) Anyone who has even completed a basic open water class should know you never descend head first. Thats just asking for trouble. 3) Since when is descending a race? Why so fast? On a class deep water dive we do equalizing checks and take the time descending. It’s a wonder only 1ear drum was ruptured. 3) Why didn’t he ascend when he was requested to do so by the instructor? 4) by my count it appears that there is only the one instructor and no DM, There should be at least 1 other experienced diver ( not a student) on any dive in addition to the instructor. 4) What is with all the ineffective kicking hand paddling especially? Even before the panic set in technique looked extremely novice. 5) Why was everyone so far apart and swimming all over? They should me stuck to their buddy and managing the equalization. All together in a cluster 6)I agreed the weight looked off on panic attack guy but if he had been properly trained and experienced BEFORE attempting a more challenging dive I don’t think the weight would have been an issue. If they had done a check on his weight at the surface they could have adjusted to avoid any trouble it may have caused for him.
This didn’t suddenly go bad, this was a hot mess from the gate. I have questions all the way from before they got in the water.
Lots of excellent observations here. I just want to add that I personally don’t like seeing divers with cameras when they are learning new things. Too many things to keep track of and a camera just adds on the pile. Students need to focus on learning. I personally believe that you should be an experienced, confident diver before bringing any kind of camera down with you.
Did look like a lot of weights. What I DID notice was attempts to rescue from the FRONT. As a rescue diver, I was taught to rescue yourself first. I would have approached him from the back. That would have given the rescuer more control , and hopefully paused the rapid ascent. the buddy could also have helped from the front ( out of reach ) by drawing his attention.
I want to know:
1. how many dives these jokers had before attempting “a deep advanced dive”.
2. Who calculated Wasseems weights? Looks like over 30lbs. I count 14 1kg wits on the belt + a steel cylinder.
3. WHY did the Doug, videographer continue the dive with a burst eardrum?
5. Why, when everything started spinning did Doug not swim to the mooring line and start an ascent, and why wasn’t Waseem (his buddy) following him?
3. I never heard the Doug put air in the BCD, i watch Wasseem hold his inflator hose up (while inflating or did he deflate his) BCD, (the divers seems to be kicking and arm swimming like mad).
4. Wasseem was below Doug, kicking and still sinking right before he panniced.
3 His buddy, Niki, turns way from him and is watching Doug. Wasseem still sinking behind her.
4. WHY wasn’t Wasseem wrapped in the arms (or at least secured from the back) by the instructor on ascent?
5. Doug receives signal to ascend, but he doesn’t. (Doesn’t want to leave the “safety of the group).
6. There were two inexperienced divers, each with issues but ONLY ONE was receiving all attention at a time.
7. How long before these two guys were certified as DM’s.
8. WHAT INSTRUCTIONAL AGENCY!!!!