NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Career fire fighter drowns during final dive of training course - Indiana.

Tarley JL; McFall M
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 F2002-15, 2003 Jul; :1-10
On June 14, 2002, at approximately 1243 hours, a 37-year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) drowned during the final dive of a diver training course. The victim and his partner were attempting to locate and bring an object to the surface. They were using a lifting device in zero visibility at a depth of approximately 50 feet. The victim's partner was in a kneeling position on the bottom of the lake attaching his line to the object when the victim knocked him over on his side and attempted to remove his mask. The victim's weight belt landed on top of his partner. The partner surfaced and informed the personnel in the safety boat that the victim was in trouble. The safety diver immediately entered the water and began searching for the victim. Additional divers were shuttled to the site by the safety boat to continue searching for the victim. The victim was recovered over 2 hours later using a sonar device. Advanced life support was initiated en route to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure that equipment checks are performed before each dive and any defective equipment is repaired or replaced before the dive takes place; 2. ensure that all participants in diver training have practiced the specific evolution in a controlled environment such as a swimming pool before attempting the evolution in open water; and, 3. ensure that search-and-rescue operations establish and use reference points to conduct searches.
Region 5; Fire fighters; Emergency responders; Fire fighting equipment; Diving; Diving equipment; Training; Self contained underwater breathing apparatus; Accident prevention
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division