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Divetalking » Diver, Emergency/FirstAid, Events, Featured, ocean, Open Water, Reefs, Reference, Report » Missing Diver March 28, 2012 in Cozumel UPDATE

Missing Diver March 28, 2012 in Cozumel UPDATE

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On March 29th, 2012 I received an email from a DM friend working the boats with Sand Dollar this morning regarding the missing diver off Santa Rosa. He writes:

Today and Tomorrow will be the last days of rescue for the missing girl. I am sure she never made the surface, I told the captain 15 minutes after we couldn’t find her on the surface. We check other boats in the area. There were around 10 boats on Santa Rosa Wednesday. If no one saw her it is because the current pulled her down. The current was out and very strong, pulling downward. This is the second time I’ve seen currents like this and I was close to not making the surface as well. It was close for me my friend.

The individual who wrote me the email is a native born to Cozumel. He has been a DM for many many years and knows the reefs very well. For him to tell me that he barely made it back up is a testament to how strong the currents must have been.

The son of the missing diver writes:

My mother still hasn’t been found. My stepfather is trying to work with the Navy and Port Authority to cover as much water as possible while the sun is still out. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

My stepfather is there, and I am getting all my information second hand. Thank you again for your concern. I am trying my hardest just to get updates like everyone else.

Stay tuned for more updates as they arrive.

At 4PM EST March 30, a message arrives from Cozumel to an inquiry asking, Any Updates?:

Nada Larry, i just got home around 30 in. ago, we when out infact we dive at santa rosa again with husband of the girl and his uncle

 

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Filed under: Diver, Emergency/FirstAid, Events, Featured, ocean, Open Water, Reefs, Reference, Report · Tags: , , , ,

7 Responses to "Missing Diver March 28, 2012 in Cozumel UPDATE"

  1. typhoon says:

    My husband and I were on also on the Sand Dollar that day. In hindsight I do not think we should have been allowed to dive that day. We are seasoned divers certified in the 70’s but this is the first time in Cozumel and the first time that I was terrified of diving conditions. When we arrived at the first dive sight we were shown a raging river of current in about a 50 foot wide section of ocean and were told that the current was too strong so we would look for another site — that should have been a clue that conditions were poor. When we did go in the water we were only in about 10 minutes before we surfaced a good 1000 feet or more from the boat and nowhere near our dive group which was scattered. We got sucked that far from the boat very quickly. Thankfully another boat saw our futile swim to the Sand Dollar boat and picked us up.
    I am horrified that some time was allowed to elapse prior to being told that we were missing a diver. One of the other divers commented that not all of the divers participated in the search. We were conversing with other divers for probably fifteen minutes before we were told by another diver that someone was missing. Nothing was ever announced early on to request everyone to look for a missing diver. I would certainly been have been looking sooner. This lack of communication will haunt me. My prayers go the family.

  2. kschoonover says:

    He never seen her heading to the surface, she told him she needed to go up. He turned around to the DM next to him pulled his fin to get his attention & gave him the sigh to go up. When he turned back around she was already gone, he assumed she just went on to the surface so he started to go up but when he couldn’t see her ahead of him surfacing he went back down & told the DM he couldn’t find her. He never actually left his wife(dive buddy), he just turned away from her for accouple seconds. She might of decided to go up with out him instead of waiting or she might of got a little to far from the wall. No one knows what actually happened but she was never actually seen going to the surface or surfacing, everybody just assumed she did. I think for other divers it would be wise to hold you’re buddies hand the whole time no matter what. He had been holding his wife’s hand for most of the dive but it goes to show that something can happen in just accouple of seconds.

  3. SmilingViking says:

    I was on the Sand Dollar that day and on the Celebrity Equinox as well. My Thoughts and Prayers are with the missing diver, the husband and the children; from the moment of discovery and forever. I feel very sad for the family and the tragedy they must now endure. Tears are welling up as I recount the experience. I must share my experience publicly for a full understanding of responsibility and future safety of Brother/Sister divers. Cozemel is known for it’s beauty as well as the strong currents that accompany the diving adventures there. The crew of the Sand Dollar made it perfectly clear, in our pre-dive briefing, that the currents were present and that they were moving north to south, away from the wall and (with serious emphasis)DOWN. “Watch your depth! If you feel your ears popping or see the other divers above you, get back up to the max depth which is 80’! Do not leave your dive buddy and keep your eyes on your dive guide!) I was not in the dive group which lost the diver. When we got back on to the Sand Dollar we quickly found out that there was a missing diver. The crew of the Sand Dollar immediately commenced a proper Search and Rescue protocol. To be more specific, the entire crew took stations on the bow, the stern and flying bridge and the Captain (Martin) took a course to begin a grid pattern starting with outside possibilities taking wind and current into account. At the time, the husband was on the starboard bow and I on the port bow. A phone call was immediately placed, to the authorities for assistance, and other vessels in the area were contacted to determine if she was picked up by one of them as there were at least 10 other dive vessels diving Santa Rosa that morning. The dive guide from their group approached the husband to ask him what happened and he said he saw her surface. The dive guide then firmly stated to him that you never leave your dive buddy. He then banged his fist against the frame of the flying bridge in frustration, I believe knowing that he fell short in his responsibilities. The search continued for hours. Back and forth….Back and forth… Much to my dismay, most (not all) of the other passengers were involved in conversation or messing with their gear. Finally one of the crew asked the remaining passengers to participate in the Search and Rescue effort. After a couple of hours I had to go to the bathroom and was shivering because the wind had picked up and the sun was shaded by intermittent cloud cover. I was there for the duration as another person’s life is certainly more important than a few physical discomforts. By now my optimism and weary eyes accompanied by rougher seas were playing tricks on me. I would keep thinking I saw her but it was merely cresting waves or whitecaps. I kept praying and praying that we would find her and reassuring the concerned husband that she was probably picked up by one of the other dive vessels in the area. After approximately 4 hours of searching, we headed back to the pier. The owner of the dive company was there to receive us as well as local authorities. One diver on the boat had the audacity to ask if we were going to get a break on the fee we paid for the dive since we didn’t get our second dive. SERIOUSLY!!!! He should be ashamed of himself! When we all disembarked and stood on the pier, it finally hit the husband, like a ton of bricks, that his wife was definitely missing with little likelihood that she would be found. I too started crying. I have not cried tears of sadness for many years. My heart was heavy for him, for her and mostly her children. The Sand Dollar immediately headed out again to continue the search. The seas calmed down shortly thereafter and there must have been a solid two to three hours of calm seas and I believe that if she was on the surface she definitely would have been rescued prior to that day’s sunset. I believe that she must have gone back down, after she surfaced, to look for her dive buddy; panicked and succumbed to the downward currents. AGAIN, I am deeply saddened by this tragedy! My heart goes out to the husband and the children! I wrote this detailed account to share this with my diving family. Diving can be a dangerous sport. Never dive beyond your ability or comfort level. Never leave your guide (It is not the dive guide’s responsibility to corral the group). Finally, NEVER LEAVE YOUR DIVE BUDDY, NO MATTER WHAT.
    My sincerest condolences to the Family of the missing diver.
    I will pray for them forever.
    In Peace, Love and Light,
    William
    smilingviking@hotmail.com
    Northern California

  4. gdbkev says:

    I just returned home from my trip aboard the Equinox. I had the misfortune of not only being on this dive trip, but I was also in the group of eight that had the missing diver. My husband and I are new to diving and found this dive to be quite terrifying. Having never encountered a current this strong it took all of our focus and strength to stay with the DM on our descent. Once we reached the edge of the reef wall I couldn’t believe how much air I had to fill into my bcd in order to not get sucked down over the wall. It took all of my physical effort to fin my way along the wall, not get pushed into the coral, keep an eye on my husband, and try to stay on the heels of DM. I wasn’t aware of the lost wife. When we finally surfaced I was exhausted and shaken. When we were back on the boat, which was the first time we started to hear that the wife had gestured to surface, but was not to be found. I had assumed she had surfaced and must be floating somewhere since there were others who had surfaced without their DM’s and had been picked up by other boats and returned to our boat. We searched for hours until they had to return us to our ship. In those hours I was sure we would spot her because we were all on deck looking for her. This whole experience still has me devastated and making me thankful for what I have in my life. It still breaks my heart to think of the husband and his family for their loss. My prayers are with them…

  5. motoman says:

    My wife and I were diving in Cozumel on that same day. We were diving with the same dive group we have used in 4 previous trips to Cozumel. Our 1st dive that day was Palancar Caves.We were with a group of 6 divers ( 3 pairs ). At 80′ our dive guide herded all 6 of us into a small cave. We thought he was taking us in there to show us something. He was out checking the extremely strong currents. He came back and led us out and started a most exhausting swim against the current away from the wall gradually ascending. It was all any of us could to kick against the current. When we all made it back on the boat, the general consensus was: That was not much fun! It was only later that we were to find out what a treacherous situation we were all in. I cannot help but think that another “accident” could have occurred had our DM not been aware and taken the steps that he did to insure our safety. Our hearts go out to the family of the missing diver.

  6. [...] Dives100 – 199 Missing Diver March 28, 2012 in Cozumel UPDATE | Divetalking [...]

  7. amateur says:

    Our Prayers are with You and Your Family.
    We Love You
    Mike & Meg
    Georgia

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