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Friday, June 06, 2008

Indonesian Divers Missing

There's news this morning of another diver mishap. Five divers from Great Britain, Sweden and France disappeared Thursday in the waters off Komodo National Park east of Bali. I haven't been able to determine yet whether this was a shore-based dive or a boat charter dive. At the moment, there is little more to report, other than the divers have been missing for about a day, having been swept away by strong currents.

You may remember an incident back in May when two divers in Australia were swept away from their charter boat, the Pacific Star. The two were eventually rescued but not until they had spent 20 or so hours adrift together in the treacherous waters of The Great Barrier Reef. Investigators looking into the incident are concerned the captain of the Pacific Star waited too long to contact authorities. I would also be pretty concerned by the fact that according to recent reports he had left the scene and was already on his way back to port when he called in the alert. If true, that goes beyond stupid. For more on this particular incident, check my previous post here, and go to the story at CDNN here.

In my previous post on the Australian incident I discussed the time delay, saying it wasn't that strange. We were originally informed the two were in the water for 20 hours and that the rescue went on for 18 hours. Take out actually dive time, about an hour, and the fifteen or so minutes it takes to realize someone is missing, and you only have a 45 minute delay. But now we're told there was a 3-hour delay in contacting authorities and that the charter boat captain had actually left the scene and was on his way back to shore with the rest of his charter party. If true, I can't imagine what the hell was going on in his head. Was he thinking he had to get the others back? Or did he write the missing divers off as dead after only 3 hours? Something is not right with this story and I'm thinking there are a lot of divers speculating and wanting to place blame on the charter boat captain and the charter company. Let's just wait and see how this shakes out.

Either way, let me reiterate what I said in my previous post on the subject. If you have an emergency situation, an injury aboard, a lost diver, a fire, flooding, whatever -- Place the call to rescue authorities immediately! Get them mobilized and ready to sortie. You can always call them back if the situation resolves on its own or by your own hands.

Meanwhile, maybe someone will tell us whether these divers in Indonesia were shore diving or diving from a boat. There's a big difference.



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