I am very happy that I just read that the diver is recovering and he is ok!
Unfortunately the articles does not give many information on the event. He was found unconscious in 12m depth (at the bottom). 99.99% this was a black out with no safety dive buddy.
Definition of safety diver/dive buddy: One who watches a diver throughout all of the divers dive, i.e. never looses sight/information on where the diver is. A guy that is fishing 5/10m away from another diver and does not pay attention during a dive, is a great mate, but not a safety diver.
From experience I have from freediving competitions it is most likely (probable) that what happened to him happened either at the surface or very close to the surface. Then the diver being unconscious descended (maybe too many weights, or he lost air and became negative in terms of buoyancy) . After that, somebody found him – we don’t know how much time passed until he was found.
It is unlikely that there was a dive buddy watching him throughout his dive and lost him during the dive. If this was the case the dive buddy / safety diver would find him immediately and would only need to keep his head out of the surface and he would start breathing again on his own.
Once the black out happens, the diver stays unconscious and does not breath for a very short period of time (about a minute?) After that as a reflex he starts having contractions that result – if underwater – water into the lungs from which point and on recovery becomes very difficult.
Now the majority of you guys have start having hi-tech diving equipment that allows you to stay longer and dive deeper into the water. I would please like to ask you to consider – at least for competitions – to have a dive buddy system. Otherwise I am afraid we may start having more often dive accidents – I hope we’ll never EVER see one ever again!!! – related to breathhold black outs. Diving in a competition without a safety diver is something like driving a racing car without a seat belt. And I am sure nobody wants to drive a racing car without a seat belt.
Erez Beatus – Free diving coach and former world record holder explaining the risk of Samba & (Shallow Water) Blackout while free diving. Thanks to NSUC & USFA
Samba is a loss of motor control. It is a partial loss of physical or mental integrity and generally occurs up to 15 seconds after reaching the surface, normally during your first breath after a dive. It happens due to not having enough oxygen in your brain.
A Blackout in freediving is often called Shallow Water Blackout (SWB) as it most often occurs while ascending the last few metres of water. It happens due to lack of oxygen due to rapid changes in pressure.
Very briefly, it is thought that Hyperventilation is the leading cause of blackout as it lowers the amount of CO2 in your body which lessens the urge to breathe. The Shallow Water Blackout Wiki explains this all in much more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_blackout
This week another boat incident was mentioned in a post on SpearOZ.org called Divers Beware!!!. The incident was at Malabar and luckily the boat only managed to catch the float line and rip the gun out of the divers hand. See more from the link above.
This rekindled the discussion on changing the Dive Flag we spear fishermen currently use on our floats. We are generally in agreement that the international diver down flag (red with white diagonal line) is better due to its increased visibility on the water. Efforts are being made by various people to make this change for our safety.
Special note: The blue and white Alpha flag is required to be flown on a boat when you have a diver in the water. This is required by the International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (IRPCS) Rule 27 (e).
For your own safety, always dive with a float and flag. Probably the most dangerous part of our sport is boat traffic so making an effort to be seen is in everyone’s best interest.
There has been a mention in the Clareville Alliman thread about popular Mosman Whaler spearo Steve Wayne being hit by a vessel so I thought I would put out a brief run down, basically to further enforce to you all out there just how careful you must be in the water. People ask me about shark shields all the time, my reply these days is, “forget the shark shield spend the money on as big as float and flag as is practical, you have far more chance of being struck by a vessel as you do being hit by a shark. Especially along the East Coasts temperate waters.