Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

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renoun
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Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by renoun » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:48 pm

Diver missing off Blakley Rock near Bainbridge Island
Divers from the Seattle police and fire departments are searching for a missing recreational diver off Blakely Rock, a small reef in Puget Sound east of Bainbridge Island.
The Coast Guard received a call around 10:10 a.m. reporting that a 48-year-old man couldn’t be found while diving from a boat at the rocky island.
A 45-foot Coast Guard boat responded, along with the Seattle Harbor Patrol and the Seattle Fire Department’s fireboat Leschi.
The diver had not been found more than an hour and a half after he was reported missing, Fire Department Lt. Sue Stangl said.
Emerald Diving’s website describes Blakely Rock as a good place to find wolf eels, giant Pacific octopus and colorful invertebrates, but notes there can be strong currents.
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Tom Nic » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:13 pm

:-(
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Dusty2 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:14 pm

Sad, Didn't we have another one at Blakely earlier in the year? lets all prey for a miracle.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Scubak » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:43 am

Sad...
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by kitsapdiver » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:19 pm

In what seems to be the worst article ever written Kiro 7 reports that the body was found, no miracle this time. There is not a lot of information in the article.

Well damn, that sucks! I always pray for a miracle. I can't imagine a family having to go through this! My thoughts and prayers are with them, and the diving community tonight!
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by deep diver » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:27 pm

http://www.insidebainbridge.com/2013/07 ... yesterday/

A little more detail, but no ID as of yet
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by YellowEye » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:24 pm

Condolences to the family, friends and dive buddies. :(
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Grateful Diver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:07 am

deep diver wrote:http://www.insidebainbridge.com/2013/07/28/recovery-underway-of-body-of-diver-missing-off-blakely-rock-since-yesterday/

A little more detail, but no ID as of yet


He retraced his path and found his buddy unresponsive. He called 911 but was unable himself to recover the body.

I don't know whether or not being able to bring his buddy to the surface would've helped at all ... but for those reading this, please consider not diving sites like this without having taken something like a rescue class first. Knowing how to assist an unconscious diver to the surface and begin CPR is a pretty fundamental skill that can save lives.

Not trying to blame the dive buddy in the least ... I'm sure he did everything he could. But a basic part of diving includes considering the potential risks of any dive site, and making sure you have the skills you need to mitigate them.

Blakely Rock isn't a novice dive site, and requires somewhat more than novice skills ... particularly if you're diving off a private boat where help may not be readily available. Not saying these divers weren't capable, but the above statement does make me wonder ... and suggest that anyone considering diving there should ask themselves "if this were me, would I be able to get my buddy back to the boat?"

Condolences to the family and friends of the deceased ... in particular the dive buddy, who must be going through hell right about now ...

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Dusty2 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:37 am

I have to agree with Bob's warning about assessing our skill level before diving a site. Getting a fellow diver to the surface is a pretty basic skill even without rescue training but lets not start the shoulda, coulda, woulda thing. News reporting is notoriously unreliable and incomplete and we should assume the the buddy might be reading this and I am sure he will be playing the blame game for a long time to come and we don't want to add to it.

I am heartbroken for the buddy and the families and I prey that they can get through this terrible tragedy. The thought of facing such a horrendous event is beyond our ability to truly comprehend and they need all the support we can render.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by olalladiver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:02 am

Well put Dusty...

Tragic. Condolences to all involved...

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by JasonDiver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:05 am

I don't have a lot more to add but I did learn from someone who was there that the news stories do have many mistakes (age, who found body, etc.). KING5 reported the body was found today. I will encourage those that know to say more as soon as they can.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by defied » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Grateful Diver wrote:He retraced his path and found his buddy unresponsive. He called 911 but was unable himself to recover the body.

I don't know whether or not being able to bring his buddy to the surface would've helped at all ... but for those reading this, please consider not diving sites like this without having taken something like a rescue class first. Knowing how to assist an unconscious diver to the surface and begin CPR is a pretty fundamental skill that can save lives.

Not trying to blame the dive buddy in the least ... I'm sure he did everything he could. But a basic part of diving includes considering the potential risks of any dive site, and making sure you have the skills you need to mitigate them.

Blakely Rock isn't a novice dive site, and requires somewhat more than novice skills ... particularly if you're diving off a private boat where help may not be readily available. Not saying these divers weren't capable, but the above statement does make me wonder ... and suggest that anyone considering diving there should ask themselves "if this were me, would I be able to get my buddy back to the boat?"

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


Did any of these articles establish these divers certification levels? I may have missed that.
There could be many factors that prevented the diver from getting his buddy to the surface at this site that could make it difficult for even a rescue diver, or even more advanced diver to perform. Wouldn't you agree?

D

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by JasonDiver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:26 pm

I heard that the diver who died was on a CCR.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Grateful Diver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:29 pm

defied wrote:
Grateful Diver wrote:He retraced his path and found his buddy unresponsive. He called 911 but was unable himself to recover the body.

I don't know whether or not being able to bring his buddy to the surface would've helped at all ... but for those reading this, please consider not diving sites like this without having taken something like a rescue class first. Knowing how to assist an unconscious diver to the surface and begin CPR is a pretty fundamental skill that can save lives.

Not trying to blame the dive buddy in the least ... I'm sure he did everything he could. But a basic part of diving includes considering the potential risks of any dive site, and making sure you have the skills you need to mitigate them.

Blakely Rock isn't a novice dive site, and requires somewhat more than novice skills ... particularly if you're diving off a private boat where help may not be readily available. Not saying these divers weren't capable, but the above statement does make me wonder ... and suggest that anyone considering diving there should ask themselves "if this were me, would I be able to get my buddy back to the boat?"

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


Did any of these articles establish these divers certification levels? I may have missed that.
There could be many factors that prevented the diver from getting his buddy to the surface at this site that could make it difficult for even a rescue diver, or even more advanced diver to perform. Wouldn't you agree?

D


I knew that no matter how careful I was to state that I'm not placing blame, but instead commenting on something I read in the article, there'd be those who would try to make an argument out of it.

It's why I almost never post to this forum anymore ... it's impossible to have any kind of conversation here that stimulates thought.

But to answer your question ... if I thought there was any possibility that I couldn't get my buddy back to the surface in an emergency, I would not be diving that site with that buddy.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by defied » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:54 pm

Whoah, pop the brakes and put the wet-naps back in the purse, Chief. That's not what's going on here.

I'm not talking about placing blame, I'm addressing a couple of remarks here.

Primarily, Do we know this divers certification level to inspire you to recommend them take a Rescue course?

Also, how do we know if the diver thought he could get his buddy back to the surface or not? Just because you think you can, doesn't mean you will in certain situations (Which we also don't know what they were at the time).

It seems to me that all we can do right now is assume until the facts are published.

D

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Grateful Diver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:07 pm

We'll never know all the facts.

To reiterate again ... my comments were not based on any assumption of "facts" ... they were based on a comment made in the article, and were intended to stimulate thought in the reader about dive planning and site selection ... not on what actually happened in this incident ... which, obviously, we don't know.

Speaking strictly for me, I can't imagine a situation on a recreational dive site that would prevent me from assisting a diver to the surface. Abandoning him on the bottom is a death sentence, and speaking strictly for me, I'd go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that didn't happen. At this particular site, worst case, I'm dragging him upslope till I can place him on the rocks. I can't imagine a circumstance that would prevent that.

Sorry if I disturbed anyone's sensitivities by actually attempting to engage a conversation.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by dwashbur » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:13 pm

I think one of the worst aspects of an accident like this, at least for me, is the total feeling of helplessness. There's not a blasted thing I can do for the lost diver, his buddy, his family, or anyone else. As a diver I feel a connection to every other diver, and feel it when a connection is broken. But I can't do anything about it. The only thing I can do is watch the info as it comes out, and try to learn something from this tragedy that might help prevent another in the future.

Right now, that doesn't seem like much.
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Desert Diver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:29 pm

Grateful Diver wrote:We'll never know all the facts.

To reiterate again ... my comments were not based on any assumption of "facts" ... they were based on a comment made in the article, and were intended to stimulate thought in the reader about dive planning and site selection ... not on what actually happened in this incident ... which, obviously, we don't know.

Speaking strictly for me, I can't imagine a situation on a recreational dive site that would prevent me from assisting a diver to the surface. Abandoning him on the bottom is a death sentence, and speaking strictly for me, I'd go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that didn't happen. At this particular site, worst case, I'm dragging him upslope till I can place him on the rocks. I can't imagine a circumstance that would prevent that.

Sorry if I disturbed anyone's sensitivities by actually attempting to engage a conversation.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


You are an extremely experienced diver. I'm not so experienced but also like to think I would go to extraordinary lengths to bring up, or send up, an unconscious buddy. I've thought about the possibilities and how it could be done. I'm not so sure about my favorite dive buddy, my wife. She might just not be able to deal with it. And I just have to understand that. I wouldn't want to think she would struggle with my body until she was out of air and in trouble. And after that thought I'm going to go home and tell her that that is OK. She dives because I dive and because I like to dive with her. It isn't nearly as important to her. If I die in a car accident on the way home tonight I doubt if she would dive again. And we need to understand that there are divers like that.

I'm engaging you in conversation, and interested in your response.

Brian

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Dusty2 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:39 pm

Easy Bob, I'm pretty sure we are all having that conversation in our heads already. I keep looking for a reason myself and can't imagine what it would be. But we were not there and as usual we know little of substance that we could take to the bank. The news people are always in a hurry to print a story (get it on the tube)before the other networks and it is usually being reported by someone that doesn't know an inflater valve from a pee valve. No matter what you say someone will take issue based on the non extant "facts". Like most of these incidents we will probably never know much more than we do now and that is damn little beyond the fact that he/she is no longer with us. It's pathetic that they are in such a hurry to get the news out but lose interest almost as soon as they learn it is a recovery and not a rescue. Unless someone in the know comes forward it's all guesswork based on questionable information.

Your point was solid and timely. Formal or not we all need to know the fundamentals of diver rescue/recovery and be aware of where we are diving and what the hazards of that site are and to be clear in our minds that we have the knowledge and gear to act in the event that we are placed in such a situation.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by LCF » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:05 pm

I can imagine circumstances where I might not be able to recover a diver -- horrendous current, downwellings, extremely rough water. No matter how skilled we are, there will always be circumstances that exceed our capacity, and part of being a prudent diver is making the best effort we can to identify and avoid those situations.

But I think there is something interesting in the conversation here. Bringing another diver to the surface in a controlled fashion is not that difficult. Yes, we wait to teach it until Rescue, but I think most AOW students with decent personal buoyancy control could learn to do it. However, it seems that some folks view this as a very difficult skill, which to me goes to how thoroughly we have convinced people that they can't do anything they haven't been formally "taught" and certified to do.

A diver unresponsive on CCR is one of the situations where I think getting someone to the surface might really be life-saving. Most things that are going to make an open circuit recreational diver go unconscious underwater are going to be very difficult to salvage, because they are either related to gas bad enough to shut down the central nervous system, or a physiology insult bad enough that blood flow to the brain has stopped. On the other hand, there are failure modes on CCR that could possibly be salvaged if the diver were brought to the great gas tank in the sky quickly enough. I don't know if CCR divers are taught diver recovery in their classes -- does anybody else know?
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by LowDrag » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:25 pm

This is sad to hear...my condolences to the divers family and dive buddy.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Joshua Smith » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:53 pm

LCF wrote:I can imagine circumstances where I might not be able to recover a diver -- horrendous current, downwellings, extremely rough water. No matter how skilled we are, there will always be circumstances that exceed our capacity, and part of being a prudent diver is making the best effort we can to identify and avoid those situations.

But I think there is something interesting in the conversation here. Bringing another diver to the surface in a controlled fashion is not that difficult. Yes, we wait to teach it until Rescue, but I think most AOW students with decent personal buoyancy control could learn to do it. However, it seems that some folks view this as a very difficult skill, which to me goes to how thoroughly we have convinced people that they can't do anything they haven't been formally "taught" and certified to do.

A diver unresponsive on CCR is one of the situations where I think getting someone to the surface might really be life-saving. Most things that are going to make an open circuit recreational diver go unconscious underwater are going to be very difficult to salvage, because they are either related to gas bad enough to shut down the central nervous system, or a physiology insult bad enough that blood flow to the brain has stopped. On the other hand, there are failure modes on CCR that could possibly be salvaged if the diver were brought to the great gas tank in the sky quickly enough. I don't know if CCR divers are taught diver recovery in their classes -- does anybody else know?


Well, I certainly was taught ccr rescue in mod 1. I *think* its standard fare. I'll ask a few instructors and find out. Great post, Lynne.


BTW, there is a rumor going around that the deceased was on CCR......
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by fishb0y » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:10 pm

http://www.insidebainbridge.com/2013/07 ... sland-man/

A little more info...

The story mentions bubbles out of his regulator, but reports also indicated he was in his 40's at one point.

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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by stphnmartin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:28 pm

I can add a bit of post accident information as my buddy and I found the body yesterday afternoon off Blakely Rock.

Originally we planned two dives on KVI tower, but after we drove down to redondo to launch the boat, we discovered the parking lot completely full with no place to park the truck and trailer. We decided to drive back up and launch from Alki and motor down to KVI. So, we did one dive on KVI and as we got back into the boat the Aluminator arrived with a six pack and we decided we'd do a second dive on Blakely Rock on the way back to Alki boat launch. So we handed the mooring buoy over to the Aluminator and motored north.

Since there's no longer a buoy at Blakely rock we anchored on the eastern side to dive what my buddy and I call the east reef. I think it's also called Shangri-la. I had read on Saturday a diver was lost on the Rock somewhere. I mentioned to my buddy that in the unlikely event we come across the missing diver, that we wouldn't try to retrieve it, just mark it with an SMB for retrieval by the authorities.

We jumped in and dived the main wall that flows eastward from the rock. The wolf eels were plentiful and I videoed 4 of them as my buddy pointed them out along the route. We had also decided to turn around a bit early to leave time to find the anchor to get back to our boat. So at the appointed air pressure my buddy signaled me it was time to turn around and we began retracing our path from a max dept of around 80-90 feet. (I'll have to check my computer to confirm).

When we drop down the wall we like to be at the base or side of it to look for marine life. As we ascend we pop up onto the top to look for things we may not have seen on the way down. My buddy was above me and signaled me with his light around 70 feet. I prepared to lift my video camera thinking it was wolf eel number 5.

My mind took a minute to process what I was seeing. I made out a figure in scuba gear and thought, oh, there's other divers on the reef. Then I thought, hmmm, ours was the only boat on the surface. Then I noticed the diver was on his back, mask off, regulator out of his mouth and my heart stopped beating. I could see he was using rebreather equipment. His dive computer was illuminated and functioning on his wrist, but I didn't get close enough to fully read the display.

I regained control of my mind, reached into my thigh pocket, retrieve my finger spool and SMB and handed them to my buddy. He handed the spool back to me and prepared to inflate the marker. I was a bit confused at first because I've never just handled a spool when launching an SMB and it seemed weird to have just one part of it. Nonetheless, he inflated the marker just enough and sent it on it's way from 70 feet. Of course I lost the spool but he had it fine--although he popped up about 10 feet. He dropped back down looking for a place to attach it to the diver. I lifted up the end of the diver's hip belt and my buddy attached the line to the D ring.

We gave each other an okay and moved up slope to get back to the boat. We were in a bit of shock and swimming hard and fast to get back to the boat. Both of us were also confused about what depth we left the anchor and began our search at 30 feet. With air getting low, I signaled to just continue up slope to surface, and then we found the anchor right where we left it in 20 feet of water. Our jostled memories were off by 10 feet.

Back on the boat I dialed 911 and spoke to several different people about our location. I got several calls back from Bainbridge authorities as well as Seattle. Seattle Fire Department also hailed us on the radio and told us someone was on the way.

Meanwhile the Salish Explorer approached us and we apprised them of the situation. We all just sat there for about an hour before a Bainbridge police officer arrived on a small rescue boat. I noticed the 3 occupants of the boat were not in dive gear. The police officer boarded our boat and interviewed us. We gave him all the information and he said retrieval personnel were on the way and we could leave.

I've learned subsequently, in this article, they weren't able to retrieve the diver until today:
http://www.insidebainbridge.com/2013/07 ... sland-man/
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Re: Missing diver off Blakely Rocks

Post by Linedog » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:58 pm

Thank you for filling us in on a very sad aspect of the recovery.
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