Two Finnish Divers Die In Norway

Written by  on February 11, 2014 

Here is a story that I think everyone should read carefully. Its sad these two divers died but I am sorry they should never have been down over 300 feet! Tech diving is not for sport divers! Only professional divers needing to do specific work should be going to these depths. These divers were fools!!

Three Finnish divers who survived a disastrous expedition in underwater caves in northern Norway are talking about what happened to their friends.  The planned dive time was five hours, during which the divers were to descend to over 400 feet in Norway’s Pluragrotta underground cave network. The group was divided into two separate teams – one pair and the other of three divers – who were to make the dive two hours apart.  The teams had with them a backup oxygen supply to use if a fault developed with their closed-circuit ‘rebreather’ breathing apparatus.   Disaster struck as one of the divers’ equipment became wedged in the rock over 300 feet below the surface. The partner struggled to free the trapped team-mate but failed, and the diver drowned.  The second team not knowing what was going on below set off two hours after the first team. After descending they came upon the body of their team-mate, and tried, again unsuccessfully, to release the diver.  During this time a second member of the group had run into technical difficulties and begun to use the back-up breathing apparatus. Despite attempts by the third diver to help, this diver also died.

The surviving divers were taken by helicopter to a hospital where they were treated for mild decompression sickness, after having been in the water for almost eight hours.

An investigation by Norwegian police is ongoing, and plans are being made to retrieve the bodies, which police say could take weeks due to the depth at which the accident took place.

divers drown

Category : Diving News

Comments

69 Responses

  1. Brett Thorpe says:

    It is a shame your story could not be a little less harsh in it’s opening words. I doubt very much if the divers were fools and to comment without knowing them or knowing the full circumstances is outrageous. People follow their passion in all walks of life, your comments sound ignorant and uneducated, maybe it is training that you require to open your eyes to the possibilities of safe human endeavour? You are entitled to your opinion but making harsh sweeping comments about people whose families may read this makes your credibility sound dubious.

    • divers says:

      Hi I am posting bad and good comments..I have probable been around scuba diving longer then many of the young Tech divers have been alive….I would certainly hope if the families did read this they would realize that their family member should never have been down that deep and maybe with proper education sport divers do not have to lose their lives when there is so much to see in safer depths. Anything that opens discussion about diver safety is for the better..thanks for your comment…Good Diving!

  2. Gareth Lock says:

    I am sorry but I do not think that you can judge what people do in their spare time. I am working hard to develop causality models for SCUBA diving and one of the points I am trying to capture risk perception and acceptance. Calling someone a fool is like saying someone undertaking high altitude mountaineering is a fool.

    I am convinced they knew what risks they were taking, in both technical terms (CCR, depths) and environmental terms (4C water, 5 hrs in the water). They also managed to understand what they needed to do to get to the surface safely (or as safely as they could).

    These divers would have been far more aware of the risks they were undertaking than someone who has the minimum number of dives to undertake a basic trimix course in 45m.

    Sorry. The attitude of calling someone a fool does not help in discussing incidents and their causality.

    Regards

    Gareth

    • divers says:

      I disagree in every single story I have read about this it said these divers were diving alone..while on the website for this cave system it specifically says “Any exploration should be in cooperation with a team with a registered project.” The only ones saying this dive was well planned out are Tech divers trying to support their view point….I still stick to my belief that only commercial divers with a specific purpose should be going to these depths.and with two deaths no one can really argue that point…Thanks for your comment…Good Diving!

    • Jim says:

      Interestingly Gareth has or is in the final throws of gaining a PhD in dive accidents, your qualification is …..?

      • divers says:

        I’m not really sure what his qualifications are…I did think he had some good thoughts and have actually emailed him inviting him to speak on our Diverstalk.com webcast….see unlike some of these bullheaded divers I am open minded and like to hear different thoughts and views even though it may differ from mine…Good Diving!

  3. Elaine Le Claire says:

    Judging from the comment at the beginning of the article, I’d be surprised if the person who wrote it actually knows anything about Technical diving, they seem to be unaware of the amount of planning that’s involved and how serious tech divers take individual and team safety.

    • divers says:

      How can you say they had a good plan when two divers died? That is like saying the Denver Broncos did well even though they lost 54 to 8 in the Super Bowl because they had a game plan…no they did not have a good game plan they lost 54 to 8…

    • Jim says:

      Because planning can never fully eliminate kit failure, human error, random chance or the unexpected. It does however reduce the risk by orders of magnitude. I find it amassing that people with no knowledge of this have the audacity to write articles on this matter.

      • divers says:

        Thanks for your comment Elaine…however maybe you are the one with no knowledge? Do you know that 4 percent of all rebreathers fail? Do you know that 10 percent of all rebreathers over 4 years old will end in a death? Do you know that 48 percent of cave dives over 190 feet will end in a death? I know all that why don’t you? I am very educated about any topic I write about…but unlike you I am more then open to listen to someone elses opinion without thinking they are uneducated…..Good Diving!

        • Brandon Johnson says:

          What’s your sources on this? Again, I come from a scenario where I routinely do deep dives, and 48% of dives deeper than 190 feet ending in death is an extremely false statistic, as I know sites where literally a hundred or so are done a week with only 10 deaths noted in the last 15 years (all people who were uncertified as cave divers). You make attacks with made up statistics and biased opinion. What’s your level of certification as a diver and deepest/furthest dives you’ve done?

          I’d be happy to share mine for reference:
          Longest – 9 hours
          Deepest – 656 feet (we planned 800 but bailed out to handwritten deco tables because our computer’s deco algorithm broke.)

          • divers says:

            Actually there are some really interesting studies being done on this topic..at some point I am going to post some info from some of them and some links of the studies you might want to read. If you would be interested Brandon we have a weekly webcast about scuba diving..would you be interested in talking as a guest speaker? Not debating just presenting your research I am sure people would find it very interesting.

          • Brandon Johnson says:

            Feel free to shoot me an email and I’d be happy to discuss and share. I’m in the Bahamas Thursday-Sunday but perhaps the following week.

          • divers says:

            Ok I will email you the details…we do it all over the internet on our other website diverstalk.com…I would just send you login information and you can do it on webcam from where ever you are…Good Diving!

  4. […] Here is a story that I think everyone should read carefully. Its sad these two divers died but I am sorry they should never have been down over 300 feet! Tech diving is not for sport divers! Only p…  […]

  5. I am alway saddened to read of these deaths—-like your comment—300 feet is a long way down!

    Kathy Dowsett
    http://www.kirkscubagear.com

  6. Poppa Dive says:

    Agreed, no real reason for sport divers to see 300 feet. Teaching for nearly 30 years you always see people wanting to push the limits – let this be a lesson, well planned, all good intentions and something goes wrong. No safety system mentioned, if the diver got stuck, research wasn’t good enough -cave divers are taught to plan and plan for potential problems, evidently not done here. Too many variables and not enough planning seems to be the issue. Any true tech diver will plan and the plan again.

  7. Poppa Dive says:

    Agreed, no real reason for sport divers to see 300 feet. Teaching for nearly 30 years you always see people wanting to push the limits – let this be a lesson, well planned, all good intentions and something goes wrong. No safety system mentioned, if the diver got stuck, research wasn’t good enough -cave divers are taught to plan and plan for potential problems, evidently not done here. Too many variables and not enough planning seems to be the issue. Any true tech diver will plan and then plan again.

  8. Brandon Johnson says:

    As a cave explorer and someone who routinely does these kinds of dives, it takes years and years of training (significantly more than a commercial diver, which is traditionally about 4-6 months) to do this kind of diving.

    Also note that the majority of commercial divers routinely do not even attempt to go to these depths or locations and do not use CCR either. It also takes weeks and weeks of planning, which is also significantly more than commercial dives. To compare this level of diving to commercial diving is like comparing apples to oranges. Much commercial diving is on structures where the drops are straight and the work has no immediate physical ceiling, only a decompression one. Cave diving has both a physical and decompression ceiling, restrictions, and absolute darkness.

    The objectives and goals are different and there is much value in them. I’ve worked with research teams to provide valuable data from the results, such as water makeup in aquifers, flow, understanding of ground water movement and location, and biological studies. Without knowing their levels of certification, their dive plan, or the rescue plan, it’s simply unkind to call them fools. It’s no different than saying a licensed car driver is a fool because they crashed and died.

    • divers says:

      You had some good points until the end of your comment…your car example was a perfect point proving what I said…if a driver is going over 100 and gets killed YES he is a fool because he took to much risk that he did not need to……

    • Brandon Johnson says:

      Then removing the car analogy (because only looking extreme example), anyone whoever died exploring by your standards was foolish; the astronauts on the challenger, the many men and women during the Oregon trail, before that Columbus’ men, and countless others history. But from these brave actions we as mankind have achieved and earned much.

      • divers says:

        Actually the challenger accident is a great example..again proving my point…the designers at NASA were the fools in that example..that accident did not have to happen..NASA and the rocket designers knew that there was a problem with the seal that failed..again great example for my point people died because someone was foolish…as far as the explorers…FACT: 2 in 5 of all explorers did not die….this past week 2 divers in a group of 5 died..and they did not have to…..Good Diving!

        • Brandon Johnson says:

          You again look at only the extremes and this isolated incident. FACT: 2 in 5 trained and certified cave divers don’t die. in fact, the majority of cave deaths are people who were never trained or certified to be there. Thousands of underwater caves (deep ones too) have been mapped and explored due to folks like this and myself without injury or otherwise. It’s tragic when accidents happen, but it’s not foolish.

        • divers says:

          Yes Brandon this is the extreme and it did not have to happen..These divers were not exploring,they were not doing scientific research they were just getting some great pictures to show at the next dive meeting….a waste of human life…Good Diving!

          • Brandon Johnson says:

            divers: I didn’t become an exploration diver by only exploring. If I only ever explored places nobody had been before, I’d probably be dead already from not having had the experience I needed to make the kind of dives I had done. A lot of my challenging/deep dives were going places others had been before me, so that I understood the risk and mitigated some of it by having an already existing map, plan, etc. Some of those dives had no research or scientific purpose other than furthering my experience, comfort, and ability. Some of them were for simple curiosity. Some were for the desire to see something so few humans have ever seen.

            It’s a risk I take in every deep, cave, or technical dive (of any kind, shipwrecks included). And I hope that if some day I die because of an accident people don’t call me a fool. I’d rather them say “he did a lot, he saw a lot, he committed a lot to cave science, study, and preservation. It was a great loss.”

            Unfortunately some of the most amazing explorers have died either in a cave or out…and people don’t consider them fools, but pioneers. Sheck Exley and Wes Skiles are two brilliant examples of this.

            Nobody who knew Sheck will question his knowledge, training, skills, or experience. The guy practically helped pioneer the trimix era of diving. But he died testing the limits of what mankind can do.

            And the same with Wes, he had logged thousands and thousands of rebreather dives before his unfortunate death (in shallow water too). It wasn’t foolish. It was unfortunate.

  9. marco says:

    Divers, your comments only highlight your ignorance.

    Everyone is responsible for their own safety, and anyone cave diving using a CCR is aware of these risks, accepts these risks, and is responsible for their own safety. You may not agree with the risks and choose not to participate, but no-one is forcing anyone to do anything.

  10. Elaine Le Claire says:

    Once again we squabble over the pros and cons of an incident with out having all the facts. It will be interesting to know what really happened and where the planning fell short. Their deaths are sad but not a waste as long as we have access to the official report so we can learn from the incident. How long do such reports take in Norway and do the public get to read them?

    • divers says:

      Sadly it sounds like we will never really know what happened..it sounds like the police in Norway are already setting that up by saying it will be weeks before they can recover the bodies because of the depth……

  11. Jim says:

    Cave diving is a well established sport which many people enjoy from cavern diving where one stays in the area that natural light can be seen to long expedition dives. All levels require appropriate training which is toughf, challenging and long. Things do occasionally go wrong and invariably the planning, and safety procedures ensure a safe exit to the cave, however very occasionally a well trained diver will loose their life. However they were doing something they were very dedicated to and certainly knew the risks and it was their choice to take them. It takes longer for these guys to qualify than any other form of diving, the appropriate agencies are well recognised and take great pains to ensure training is as effective as it can be.

    Some people who do this are trough explorers, it is probably the only field of human exploration still open to the amateur, I use that term in its purest sense, and it must remain the individual’s choice whether to do this or not. Humans have explored their environment for time imorial and will probably will do so for ever more, I certainly hope so. These people are inspirational when they take the best knowledge we have and push it further, overcome their fears, try to help a friend in their darkest hour, and occasionally make the ultimate sacrifice for a friend. These people are the ones worth listening to.

    However the person writing this is clearly quite ignorant of safe dive practice in an overhead environment or indead any other. Divers dive in budy ‘pairs’ because it’s very easy to look after one other person, it’s more difficult to keep track of two which adds task loading and reduces safety. Cave divers often use split teams for this reason but also so the second team can assist the first as appears to have happened here. This allows an injured diver to be extracted by divers with less decompression obligation than the rest of the team. Divers at this depth will only carry ‘oxygen’ for emergency use at depths over 6-10 meters if it can go into a rebreather because it is toxic in its pure form at high partial pressures. The team would manage multiple safety gasses to make this dive.

    The author is evidently blissfully unaware of this but very happy to spout their ignorant, ill informed views. It is sad that a web site dedicated to diving will give this nonsense a platform.

    My sympathy to the families and friends concerned it is a tough time for you all. Remeber them as adventurers, explorers and members of an ellete who deserve our respect and thanks for being here. Please ignor the ignorant misguided and childish ‘I know better’ attitude of the lackluster, dullards who always seem to gloat at a time like. I’m sure Scott, Oats, Irvine, Mallory, Tillman, etal all famous explorers received the same but their critics are long forgotten. Your loved ones join the few brave and distinguished ones.

    • divers says:

      Sadly you sir are the ignorant one..I said nothing bad about cave diving it certainly can be fun..my problem is the depth these divers were going..and how on Earth can you say these divers were professional and planned the dive out well…2 out of 5 divers died that day…would you say it was fine if 2 out of every 5 NASCAR drivers died in the Daytona 500 next week because they spent all winter planning? NO! But for some reason we in the diving community get bogged down saying these diver were explorers…they were not! They were sight seeing! There was nothing in this cave system no one has ever seen before…Just a waste when in fact there is so much left undiscovered in the world…there are hundreds of shipwrecks in the Thousand Islands region where I live yet to be discovered….go there and look for those then we will say your an explorer..until then your on vacation sight seeing…Good Diving!

  12. Costa says:

    Good day,

    1st of all, if you want NO risk at all… sit on your sofa and drink whatever you want! Even then you can die from a heart attack or from an electrical fire!

    2nd: WE… as a human civilization, we know the Mother Earth, the Oceans, the wild animals World, the Universe… thanks to some crazy guys who follow their passion! Do you think that we were able to admire the beautiful Blue Planet from the Space if were not those astronauts who… for what “mentally normal brain” to go out in an unknown Space?!? When you just can sit nice and relaxed on your sofa and drink…

    For sure those divers were well trained and exactly aware of what is going or what it might bad happen..
    This is the passion!
    We have NO right to call them fools!
    We just have to learn from their mistakes and to appreciate their spirit.
    RIP!

    • divers says:

      Your are somewhat correct..we are humans that like to explore…however…these divers were not exploring some unknown place or looking to prove some scientific thoughts..they were going very deep for no real purpose then to sight see…FOOLISH! If you want to explore great….go into Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River or the Ocean and look for the hundreds of shipwrecks that still have not been discovered..that is exploring…Good Diving!

  13. Gareth Lock says:

    Interesting discussions! Jim, thank you for the comments about my PhD, it is both interesting and challenging to break down the misconceptions and culture that pervades risk in a recreational activity. To a certain extent this is what the last set of presentations I have been giving to conferences and dive shows has been about. (I have to re-render the presentation I gave at the Global Diving Conference in Dec 13, but will provide a link shortly)

    Everyone has their own risk threshold, and this changes over time with experience and knowledge. What is considered an acceptable risk by an advanced trimix level CCR cave diver with 1000′s hrs on unit, would not be considered acceptable by an AOW diver. Therefore to judge what is acceptable for a third party, which is what is being done here, is flawed because the choice is personal. This link https://experiment.com/projects/the-role-of-human-factors-in-scuba-diving-incidents-and-accidents/updates provides some more information on this.

    However, if you look towards a structured organisation with a recognised hierarchy and a known ‘risk owner/duty holder’ then you can state quite clearly what is acceptable or not. This is not possible in a recreational activity where choices are personal and there are no ‘rules’ to be followed. Therefore trying to apply formal structure to recreational diving doesn’t work. This http://cognitasresearch.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/the-challenges-of-applying-structure-to-unstructured-activities/ provides a UK perspective to this problem.

    Everyone is an explorer if they haven’t been there themselves. The comment about looking for wrecks in the Great Lakes being an acceptable alternative to exploring a 130m deep cave. Depending on the skill, knowledge and experience of those undertaking the activity, there could be more risk in doing this than a 130m cave dive…

    Good discussion. If we can keep the emotion and personal perspective out of it, then it would be much better.

    Regards

    Gareth

    • divers says:

      Some good thoughts there Gareth…I am looking forward to having you speak on our webcast and hearing your thoughts first hand…Oh by the way my example of looking for wrecks in the Great Lakes was just to make the point you don’t have to dive down over 300 feet to be an explorer….many people are making these divers out as having died on a well planned Lewis and Clark expedition…thats not the facts at all…Something else Gaeth..when your doing your research on diving accidents are you taking in account the failure rate of these rebreathers? Thats really the thing thats being missed I am appalled at the failure rate of these and for those that will probable post questioning my knowledge asking where I get all my facts here is just one website of many that talks about the high failure rate: http://www.rebreatherworld.com I was reading on another website this morning that 2 to 3 percent of rebreathers over 2 years old will fail and then it gets worse when they are over 4 years old. Maybe this is the area we need to look at..the poor manufacturing of this equipment….

  14. Gareth Lock says:

    Divers: quote: divers says:
    “Do you know that 4 percent of all rebreathers fail? Do you know that 10 percent of all rebreathers over 4 years old will end in a death? Do you know that 48 percent of cave dives over 190 feet will end in a death? I know all that why don’t you? I am very educated about any topic I write about…”

    I would like to know where you have these stats from. If these are based on the stuff from DeepLife they are massively flawed. If it is the paper produced by Dr Andrew Fock (who I get on with very well), he admits that data is extremely limited. If it is the BSAC produced work for the DAN Fatalities Conference, there are massive holes in that.

    The problem we have is that there is no accurate denominator for diving. From research which I have examined and collated, there is a massive under reporting of diving and diving incidents/fatalities. In the UK in 2010 there were 3.5x as many divers treated for DCI as reported to BSAC (~350 treated in BHA chambers versus ~100 DCI reports in BSAC). From other data sources (HSE, DDRC, BSAC) but linked to DCI, I am extrapolating that 10x as many divers get bent as reported.

    Regarding cave diving beyond 190ft, do you mean that 48% of fatalities in cave diving were below 190ft, which is very different to say 48% of cave dives below 190ft end in fatality? This link http://www.iucrr.org/cave_diving_fatalities.html provides some useful information on this subject. If the source is something else, please provide it.

    Do you mean 4% of rebreathers fail under water, fail underwater with a bad outcome, fail on the surface and the divers don’t get in the water? If the latter, I would hazard a guess it might be higher.

    Finally, be very careful when quoting statistics, especially if the context is not known. https://xkcd.com/1252/ :)

    Regards

    Gareth

    • divers says:

      I’m sorry Gareth with all do respect I think your totally wrong in what your saying in this post…stats are stats…and not one website, not two or three but hundreds talk about the failure rate. One study might be wrong or flawed,maybe two or three but many say the same thing. I have read studies going back to over 6 years saying the same exact thing. One study even said the figures are low because many times the failure rate does not get reported…like thie incident in Norway they may never recover the divers to find out what happened. I can easily post links and have posted some and will post more to support what I am saying but NOT one single person commenting has posted any links supporting what they are saying..so where are you all getting your facts??? Good Diving!

    • divers says:

      Here are just two interesting articles if you would like to read them:
      http://decodoppler.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/why-so-many-deaths-what%E2%80%99s-the-real-story-behind-18-deaths-on-rebreathers-worldwide-so-far-in-2010/

      http://cfua.org/Divers-Death.htm

      One of these says 30 in every 100,000 tech dives ends in death..that is very high and anyone that says it is not is not thinking…would we put up with 30 out of every 100,000 school kids dieing on the playground? NO!

    • Jim says:

      Ok well if the data is real please quote it’s source so we can asses it.

      • divers says:

        Hi Jim, Thanks for your comment. I actually have posted some links in some previous conversations if you look back. I don’t plan to post any more at this point. There are just a tone of information online on this topic. I will probable keep posting more stories as new stories come out. Good Diving!

        • Gareth Lock says:

          Those links you provided just quoted other sources and not the real detail, which gave me an idea to put a paper together.

          However, if you go back to the source data from Steve’s blogs (Dr Mitchell’s presentation at the Peter Bennett Symposium)

          “”The exact number sold is not known, but various commentators estimate that it is somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000. This means that on current data, approximately one in every 200 (0.5 percent) Inspiration owners go on to die while using the device.” & “The DAN 2003 report on decompression illness and dive fatalities (based on 2001 data) records that 9.8 percent of all decompression illness cases and 20 percent of diving fatalities in the United States occurred in technical divers. There is no denominator against which to compare these event data, but in the opinion of this author, it is extremely unlikely that technical divers are performing anything like 9.8 percent of all dives in the United States, let alone 20 percent. It therefore seems very likely that technical divers are over-represented in these accident data.” Mitchell, S.J., 2005, Dr Peter Bennett Symposium Proceedings, Technical Diving. Divers Alert Network, Durham, USA, pp. 55-70″

          Rebreather World is not a recognised data source by the way!

          The links from the Cyprus link are interesting and I am trying to find the original data for that. However, I find this comment interesting

          “Diving statistics from the USA, UK, Canada and Japans all show diving death rates of 15-30 per 100,000 divers per year, with the statistical chance of a fatality being about 2-3 per 100,000 dives.
”

          because it infers that each diver is only doing 5-10 dives per year! And yet the data presented at the DAN Fatalities Workshop in 2010 showed BSAC and DAN fatality rate per dive to be in the order 0.5-1.00 per 100 000 dives, and data from PADI (when PADI Pros were involved) is in the order of 0.3-2.7:100 000 dives.

          PADI – Richardson, D., 2011, DAN Fatalities Conference 2010, TRAINING SCUBA DIVERS: A FATALITY AND RISK ANALYSIS.
          BSAC – Cumming, B., Peddie, C. & Watson, J., 2011, Recreational Diving Fatalities Workshop Proceedings, A Review of the Nature of Diving in the United Kingdom and of Diving Fatalities (1998-2009). Divers Alert Network,

          Regards

          • divers says:

            Rebreather World is not a recognised data source by the way? In whose eyes? Yours? So basically if something does not agree with your theory it is not from a reconized source! These figures are matched in MANY different sources..maybe you should do some research with open eyes as I have. As soon as you see something you instantly say “I have never heard of this source so its wrong” When I see something I say “wow I wonder if thats true and start looking in other sources to see if they say the same thing or near the same thing…..

          • divers says:

            Hi Gareth I did have one thought..It looks like some of the sources you are looking at are looking at diving in the United Kingdom…the ones I am looking at are world wide…could that be the difference? Obviously if the stats just look at one country they are going to be scued lower then looking at world wide numbers…just a thought……

          • Gareth Lock says:

            In the eyes of the academic community…that’s whose eyes.

            If you can provide specific links within RBW for peer-reviewed data, then cool, but you provided a link to the forum itself.

            Regarding the comment about looking for data, that is exactly what I did, I went back to the original source data and quoted it so that you can understand the context.

            Another source – “An analysis of incident reports involving diving fatalities and membership figures for PADI generated fatality rates during a ten year period of 1.66 per 100,000 divers, and 0.47 per 100,000 dives under supervision of a PADI member”. Kinsella J. The data tell us. The Undersea Journal. 2011(First Qtr. ):80-1.

            BSAC source from source above – 30 deaths on a CCR from 180 deaths over a 10 year period, but that doesn’t tell you how many dives took place nor does it tell you why the deaths occurred.

            “This leaves 15 cases where it seems clear that the use of a rebreather was at the root of the incident. In 11 of these 15 cases it is believed that the diver made some error in the use of the equipment, the most common error being a diver entering the water without correctly switching on the equipment. In the remaining four of the 15 cases it is thought that some error occurred in the equip-ment itself. One of these cases involved what was described as a “homemade” rebreather, another involved a failed diaphragm, another involved “an oxygen surge,” and the last was due to “an oxygen leakage” from the equipment. ” – same BSAC reference.

            Back to playing the denominator game…

            Regards

          • divers says:

            Did you see the one stat that 2 percent of rebreathers 4 years old will fail? Maybe they need to make it that rebreathers either have to be retired or rebuilt after 2 or 3 years? Maybe that would cut down on accidents.

          • Gareth Lock says:

            Yes, and I need to check with Jill and Steve about that. “Jill Heinerth made the statement: “if you own a rebreather for five years, two percent of you are going to die on it.”” – I am guessing but I think there were 400 people in the audience of that presentation. Again, you need to understand the context.

            You can’t make sweeping statements about retiring equipment when it is a certain age. As I said earlier, there was a dive project with a pair of CCRs and four divers who conducted 9500hrs in water over 5 years without a single in-water failure – they used a robust checklist and wouldn’t get in without the equipment passing the checklist. The equipment reliability isn’t so much a problem, it is people not ending the dive (or not starting it) when they have broken equipment. That is a mental/cultural issue.

            Regards

  15. Gareth Lock says:

    Failure rate against what baseline?

    1:10, 1:100, 1:1000, 1:10 000. Unless you have a denominator you cannot quantify risks accurately. All of the posts online, where is the denominator?

    I am not sure if you have seen Dr Andrew Fock’s research paper? http://www.dhmjournal.com/files/Fock-Rebreather_deaths.pdf this is the most comprehensive and peer-reviewed paper that is out there. Anything online is just anecdotal.

    Regards

    • divers says:

      Hi Gareth, I just looked over Dr. Andrew Fock’s research paper. Very interesting..I read it real quick but from the conclusion I see nothing that does not support what I am saying…the failure rate of rebreathers are higher then conventional scuba equipment..he said in his conclusion: “figures suggest that using CCR is associated with a four-to-ten-fold increased risk of death compared to recreational OC scuba diving.”
      My point was proven in that very sentence…so what am I missing in our argument? I don’t see we have an argument if you are saying this study is showing real stats because I totally aggree and have read the same in other studies…this equipment at this point is not very safe…

    • Gareth Lock says:

      Andrew’s paper is very good, but it isn’t necessarily comparing apples with apples. Importantly not wanting to put Andrew’s work down, it is using the only available data available. This is where you need to understand the context.

      For example the OC metric comes from using all of DAN’s fatality data (which is not the complete data set anyway, and BSAC is a similar value) which means that you are lumping in all of the OC recreational fatalities which are undertaken in different depths and exposures to CCR diving. The denominator for BSAC comes from an assumption made about the sort of diving which takes place in the UK, I don’t know where DAN’s comes from). A better metric for comparison would be OC technical diving in representative depths, however, that data doesn’t exist so you aren’t comparing like for like. This data might show that fatality per hour in the water for 100m dives on CCR is 10 times as safe as OC…

      Given the technical complexity of CCRs, the environment (depth, temp, exposures) and social environment (disposable income, “I’ve always done it this way”, medical/health etc) of the majority of people who dive CCR (sweeping generalisation I know), would I expect that CCR diving is more risky than all OC diving. YES. Is that value acceptable or not? I cannot judge that for anyone else – I don’t dive CCR or cave dive so can’t judge that myself. Can we improve it? Yes, certainly. But that improvement isn’t necessarily about equipment. If you look at the dates in Steve’s blog, you’ll notice that plenty of that data comes from early 2000s when equipment wasn’t as reliable today and was very much developmental.

      As a parting shot, 23% of the incidents I have collect in my survey so far have “Decision to continue dive when should have ended it” as a contributory factor…

      Regards

  16. Gareth Lock says:

    Thanks for link to Steve Lewis’ blog. If you read the text, you will see that Simon ” warned his data was inconclusive and his estimate “statistically crude”.”

    You will also note that CCRs in of themselves are not the problem, it is delivered trained and the user behind the units. One pair of CCRs undertook 9500 hrs of diving over a 5yr period and never failed ‘in water’. They failed during plenty of top-side checks before they got in the water.

    OC fatalities in the UK are around 0.54-1.06 per 100 000 dives per year but that doesn’t say what sort of diving (depth, time, OC/CCR etc). ~350 general aviation pilots die every year in the US, that is the same as a couple of jet airliners crashing at once, are either of those acceptable?

    If you look at the Risk link I provided earlier, people will accept risk 1000 times greater than involuntary risk…so comparing 30 deaths in a school yard (which is also under a supervised organised structure) is wrong.

    Unless you know what the baseline is i.e. how many divers, how many dives per year, how many hours exposure in water, you cannot compare risks.

    Regards

    • divers says:

      Good points..the only thing I would say is the study you sent the link for and I read was missing one fact..that there really is no accurate number of divers in the world or number of how many dives a year. I think the report is probable pretty close but again with no real way to get a specific number of divers and dives in the world the numbers are real general..still to many deaths though….

  17. Elaine Le Claire says:

    :-D

  18. Peter Herbst says:

    Suppose its your site and your word seems to be law….Dont agree with ANY of your opening statements other than being sad they died. its sad when anybody dies.
    These guys were obviously trained – they were NOT “sport” divers, they were Tek divers. They would not have been down there at those depths and in those caves if they have not had the training to accomplish that dive. Your comments – I feel – are typical of someone that has no clue what it takes to GET to those levels..training, expense, time and determination as well as the drive to go where few, if any has gone before..they were no more fools than Edmond Hillary or Niel Armstrong. Those guys made it because of training and backup and more training – you are saying that all the other astronauts and mountain climbers that died before them were “fools” – to that I take exception as again by your definition I am a hero as long as I stay alive but a “fool” if I die? Like I said – your site, your rules…

    • divers says:

      Hi Peter, Thanks for your comments. You,like many people just have read between the lines. I NEVER said anything about explorers and in fact said nothing negative about cave diving in general. I said,if you take a minute to actually read and understand,that there is no reason for sport divers to dive this deep. Explorers were and are brave men and women that explore and go where no one else has gone. When did we start taking the word explorer so lightly that we bunch in well trained tourist in that group? These were not explorers..they were going no where people had not already been! One last point..your right this is my website but I hope you will agree I have been very fair in approving all posts negative and positive. I try to be very open minded and listn to other poeple and their views. Sadly many people do not feel the same way. People just want to be stuck in their own world thinking that what they believe is right and everyone else is wrong. And if someone disagrees with you well OH My God they must know knowing and be uneducated in this field! I actually think there are many sides to every argument and neither side has to be wrong. Good Diving!

      • Gareth Lock says:

        I think the point that people are making is why shouldn’t Sport Divers dive that deep? What is the delineator for the acceptable level of risk? 10m, 20m, 40m, 60m, 140m, 200m?

        Put another way, what is the delineator for the acceptable level of risk for ‘tourist’ mountaineers who climb in the Himalayas? Or skiers/snowboarders who go off piste heli-skiing?

        What is acceptable is personal to the person involved? Your acceptable level of risk is obviously different to others, that doesn’t mean what they were doing was ‘foolish’ in _their_ eyes. If it was, they wouldn’t likely have 5 people involved in the dive…

        Regards

  19. Peter Herbst says:

    Here is a link with a report – I don’t know who wrote it but it sounds like something I would have written following an incident like this.Sounds like they knew what they were doing and had the backups in place – things went wrong and it also seems that the restriction took more time to navigate than what they planned…this stretched resources and seems to have caused the bends in the other divers. Does not mention the type of rebreather or any rumours of what went wrong.
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-iDm0Pmt3MYU3hxb0tZS3llTGpWVnZ0RWlPeDY5NTJybFVF/edit?pli=1

  20. Gareth Lock says:

    I have just re-uploaded this 40min presentation which covers a number of the points I have made above http://youtu.be/Tlt90y53e2s. It was delivered to both BalticTech 2013 and the Global Diving Conference 2013 at the end of last year and shows that whilst it is easy to say ‘how could they make that obvious/stupid mistake’ when you start to examine things, there are lots of complex issues at play and therefore extracting ‘one root cause’ is nigh-on impossible.

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  26. Kari says:

    Please, check your sources,

    Police said that although the diving ban remained in place, prosecuting the Finnish team was not a priority.

    http://www.thelocal.no/20140328/daring-divers-bring-up-dead

    • Divers Guide says:

      Hi kari, I did check several different sources in fact. The press release from the police department there said “charges are pending”. You read the article that said their priority right now was to retrieve the divers bodies. The bodies were taken to a different spot in the cave system so they can be more easily recovered. They still are not actually in police custody as of yesterday. The police are going to have to lodge at least some minor charges, if they don’t then the ban means nothing and these daredevil divers that think they can’t die will still attempt to go into this dangerous area. The police will need to make a statement if they actually do want to ban diving in this cave system. Thanks for your comment however. Good Diving!

  27. Good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

  28. Gareth Lock says:

    You might be interested to know that the recovery operation organised by the police and rescue services, using overseas specialists, was not undertaken due to the risks involved (this was approximately 6 weeks ago). However, an unsanctioned operation took place last week by private individuals to recover the bodies and this was successful.

    The report is available here http://www.sukeltaja.fi/content/fi/11501/10832/227/227.html

    This highlights the difference between ‘sanctioned’ operations which have to comply with Health and Safety legislation/rules and where risks cannot be forced onto others, and those who chose to undertake a risky activity where the choice is their own.

    Regards

  29. divers says:

    Hi Gareth, Yes I posted the update today. But what you failed to mention in your post,which I have in my story today,that the 17 divers that did the recovery are now facing numerous charges because that area is now banned from diving since this accident. . Good Diving.

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