Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE F2000-11, 2000 Jun; :1-6
On January 15, 2000, a 37-year-old male volunteer fire fighter drowned during a dry-suit certification training dive.The victim was one of six divers which included one certified diving instructor (Professional Association Dive Instructor (PADI) Dive Master) and five students (three of the students were volunteer fire fighters). The victim was a member of the fire department's search and recovery dive team. On the day of the incident, the training was being conducted at a privately owned freshwater lake that is dedicated exclusively to recreational diving. The training consisted of one, 3-hour classroom training session (held on January 8, 2000), followed by three open-water dives conducted on January 15, 2000. The first dive was conducted in a controlled area near the shore. The second and third dives were logged open-water dives for dry-suit certification. On the third dive ascent, the group made a safety stop at a depth of 15 feet. After the instructor got the okay signal from all of the students, they continued their ascent to the surface. When the victim failed to appear at the surface, two of the divers descended to the bottom and began searching for him. They found the victim at a depth of approximately 22 feet. They brought him to the surface where rescue breathing was initiated while moving him toward shore. Once on shore, paramedics transported the victim by ambulance to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2238 hours. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should ensure that divers maintain continuous visual, verbal, or physical contact with their dive partner.