15 December 2005

Fatal dive: company puts record straight

A top professional scuba instructor has died off Fort Lauderdale in the USA - and some reported facts about the incident need correcting, the diver's employer has said.

Zak Jones, 30, a PADI Course Director with Fort Lauderdale's Pro Dive International, was leisure diving with other staff members from the company's dive boat, Pro Diver II.

He lost consciousness after descending with a buddy, was sent to the surface and recovered aboard the boat. He was transferred by a US Coast Guard vessel ashore, where he was taken to hospital. Despite the efforts of paramedics, he could not be saved.

Based on Coast Guard information, US web media has reported that the divers were "each equipped with three scuba tanks", which implies the use of open-circuit scuba. But Frank Gernert, Pro Dive International CEO, has told Divernet that Jones "was using a closed-circuit rebreather, and the only diver using such".

The Coast Guard is reported to have said that, a few minutes after the divers separated at a depth of 46m to explore a reef, "Mr Jones' dive partner turned and found Mr Jones struggling as if he were entangled in his tank lines". When the buddy reached Jones, he was "unconscious with the regulator out of his mouth".

Gernert has confirmed that "Zak went into unconsciousness at depth and never recovered". But, regarding what the buddy saw, he told Divernet: "Zak was never noticed struggling or in any distressful manner. However, after he presumably lost consciousness, he descended approximately 47ft (14m) and became entangled in material unrelated to his life support or actual scuba gear."

Other reported details of the incident are not disputed. The buddy is reported to have set Jones to ascend quickly, following more slowly to avoid decompression illness. He administered first aid upon rejoining Jones at the surface, until Jones could be recovered aboard. CPR continued on the dive boat until the rescue services arrived within 15 minutes.

A police investigation is being conducted into the incident.

Zak Jones was a popular figure in Fort Lauderdale's sports scuba scene, and was a highly respected technical diver. In addition to his PADI course directorship, he was qualified at instructor trainer level for trimix and rebreather diving.

At the time of his death, Jones was using his rebreather, a Megalodon, in a private capacity. Pro Dive International does not offer rebreather training or diving.

The company has, via its website, set up a fund for donations in support of Jones' widow, Robyn.

Source: www.divernet.com/news

3 Comments:

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous OUTTOSEA said...

I'M NOT YELLING HERE WITH THE CAPS...JUST EASIER TO READ.

I CAN'T HELP BUT TO BELIEVE THAT THE REBREATHER WASN'T PROPERLY SERVICED, OR IN THIS CASE MIS-SERVICED POSSIBLY. NOTHING WAS SAID TO THE CONTRARY ABOUT THE REBREATHER THOUGH, AS TO IT'S WORKING PROPERLY OR NOT??

BUT TO BE DIVING WITH A REBREATHER AT A DEPTH GREATER THEN 100' OR IN THIS CASE 150', IT'S ALWAYS A RISK AS TO EQUIPMENT FAILURE AND I DON'T KNOW THE TRACK RECORD OF THIS PARTICULAR REBREATHER.

EITHER THE WHOLE GROUP DIVES REBREATHERS OR NONE DO.

SAME WITH TANK DIVERS - EITHER THE WHOLE GROUP DIVES WITH TANKS OR NONE DO!

YOU HAVE TO SET SOME GUIDELINES AS TO DIVER SAFETY, AND IN MY OPINION SAFETY WAS COMPROMISED!

JUST MY OPINION...

 
At 8:15 PM, Anonymous OUTTOSEA said...

I'M NOT YELLING HERE WITH THE CAPS...JUST EASIER TO READ.

I CAN'T HELP BUT TO BELIEVE THAT THE REBREATHER WASN'T PROPERLY SERVICED, OR IN THIS CASE MIS-SERVICED POSSIBLY. NOTHING WAS SAID TO THE CONTRARY ABOUT THE REBREATHER THOUGH, AS TO IT'S WORKING PROPERLY OR NOT??

BUT TO BE DIVING WITH A REBREATHER AT A DEPTH GREATER THEN 100' OR IN THIS CASE 150', IT'S ALWAYS A RISK AS TO EQUIPMENT FAILURE AND I DON'T KNOW THE TRACK RECORD OF THIS PARTICULAR REBREATHER.

EITHER THE WHOLE GROUP DIVES REBREATHERS OR NONE DO.

SAME WITH TANK DIVERS - EITHER THE WHOLE GROUP DIVES WITH TANKS OR NONE DO!

YOU HAVE TO SET SOME GUIDELINES AS TO DIVER SAFETY, AND IN MY OPINION SAFETY WAS COMPROMISED!

JUST MY OPINION...

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Marty said...

What a horrible accident. I always hate to hear of anyone,especially a professional, having to lose their life doing what they love so much. Although some say the only good thing that comes from such an accident is that at least they were doing what they loved. My prayers go out to his loved ones.

 

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