Lessons for life: The diver drowns with a cylinder filled with air!

Canada – Ontario – Hudson Bay


Annan and Bill are friends who knew each other during their the summer diving course in 2016. Annan lives in southern Ontario. However, they quickly developed a friendship during the training period. They were eager to dive together constantly and they planned to travel and dive in different places of the world and pass advanced levels of diving.

The divers achieved 15 dives together, including four dives during the training period. All of their dives were at a local beach with a rocky bottom and a platform is situated in that diving area that divers use for training. Their diving plan was to reach that platform at a depth of 60 feet and then go to shallow water, discovering new things among the rocks, and the creatures in the place. That’s their usual and repeated plan, over 11 times, by the diving enthusiasts as they were friends of the same level.

In that day the wheather was typically normal, the water temperature was naturally cold, and all conditions were familiar for both divers.


The moment of the disaster:

After Annan and Bell finished wearing the rented diving equipment, some of them from the local diving shop, they went to the point of diving. The plan was to go to the surface buoy and then go directly to the platform located at a depth of 60 feet. Indeed, both divers committed to the plan. Upon their arrival at the metal platform, Bill’s belt and weights got stuck in the platform. While Bell was attempting to free his belt of weight, Annan noticed the problem of her colleague and went to help. While sitting on her knees trying to help him, Bell pulled the belt vigorously !!  Bell’s hand hit the regulator of Annan, which made her lose the main air source. Bell immediately noticed his confused colleague and rushed out to help her regain the regulator. Helping her, Bill released the belt of weights, and also lost his fin, which was more than he really needed. All of Bell’s attempts to return to the bottom to help Annan, who fell in the state of confusion and failed to take the emergency steps for urgent ascent (CESA)

Upon his arrival to the surface, Bill instantly asked for help from the divers on the beach. a group of divers went to search for “Annan”, who was found after 15 minutes at a depth of 60 feet beside the platform on the rocky bottom and her regulator was still outside her mouth. Afterward, she was pulled to the surface and the paramedics tried to rescue her, but she was already dead— at the age of 24.


Dissection and analysis:

Some have indicated that the cause of the accident was the diving equipment, according to the report of the Dan Insurance Institution for Scuba divers. The cause of the accident was likely due to the following things: Not using the equipment properly, poor judgment; not giving a correct response to the problem, and panicking in the situation.

Dr. George Harbor, medical director of the Tupermore High-Pressure Center in Ontario, diagnosed that the victim died by drowning. During the investigation, the analysis and research did not prove a malfunction in both divers’ equipment and said it is likely due to Human beings’ lack of perception in the state of panic. Such a state happens when a person becomes distracted and cannot find a way out or a solution to his crisis. This is exactly what happened with Annan, who lost her regulator and was unable to restore it (something that every diver learns) and then failed to apply the emergency  ascent procedure. Instead of those solutions, she succumbed to the accident and died on the bottom with a cylinder full of air. During the dissection, it was proven that Annan died with a small amount of water in her lung and the drowning incident was due to spasm in the throat that can happen with a very simple amount of water, as much as a tablespoon. However, in that situation, the amount was greater.


The lesson:

The disaster started with a very simple problem, which is, the diver losing his weight belt and such a basic exercise that the diver reviews during the training period. Then the problem was aggravated to the loss of another diver to the air regulator. This is also something that the diver learns to deal with, but they did not apply what they have learned during the course.


The moment of the disaster:

Hold on a minute, take a deep breath, and then act quickly. Do not let panic dominate you. The first solution to any problem is using the mind!


Rented equipment:

Many divers are unable to purchase their personal equipment and this is not the problem. Rent the right equipment for you. Give yourself some minutes before diving to check on your equipment—and your friends’— make sure you know where everything is and how it works.


Exercises and skills:

Always review all the exercises that you learned in the open water diver course. The repetition of these exercises will make you more able to deal with problems as soon as they occur. Then continue to apply the skills of dealing with emergencies and the skills of subsequent courses, and in the case of dropping out of diving for a while, you must undergo a course to update information. Human beings are at risk of forgetfulness, no matter how skilled in the past, you must have inevitably forgotten some of these skills. Check your information with a coach and apply the skills before going down the water after a period of interruption.

Both Annan and Bill might have dealt with the situation as they had learned during the course, and the problem could have turned into something that calls for laughter later. Nonetheless, God’s will decided against that and the death of Annan was to happen on that day undoubtedly.

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