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Near Death Experience - youtube Video

regulator failure free ascent go pro video cave dive ran out of air solo dive

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#1 waterworldphotography

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:37 AM

Although solo diving is never a good idea, but I have been diving for thirty-seven years, and I was at one of my favorite dive locations, Morrison Springs, FL, when this incident occurred. My dive partner, his grandson and I had come to Morrison Springs that morning to find the spring flooded with the tannic acid runoff from the nearby river. After a brief surface swim, we surmised the visibility at the top of the spring was zero. My dive partner and his grandson decided not to dive due to these conditions. I decided to descend beneath the muck, and found with the exception of the lack of light the visibility was quite good. So I descended into the cave system as I have done a hundred times before to video the springs with my new GoPro camera setup. I had two Ikelite DS161 strobes that put out a lot of light. I spent about fifteen minutes filming the interior of the cave system when I heard a very loud boom directly behind my head, followed by the sound of air streaming from my scuba equipment . I ascended from the cave as quickly as possible, still being able to breathe. I then slowed my ascent rate, and breathed as shallowly as possible, not knowing when I would run out of air. As best I could tell, my air ran out about twenty feet below the surface, and I ascended freely from that point, exhaling continuously until I reached the surface of the spring. According to my dive computer, I was well within acceptable blood nitrogen levels. Although my ascent rate was too quick, I never suffered any ill effects. The GoPro camera filmed the entire event. I did dive again that day at Vortex Springs, FL, making sure to do a long decompression stop.

After examination of my double hose regulator system, I determined that a high pressure hose linking two parts of the regulator blew out.



To see youtube Video go to:

fisheyeviewphoto Robert N. Zimmerman name of Video (Near Death Experience)

#2 johnjvv

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:19 PM

Wow you are lucky that did not happen earlier in your dive! I thought for cave diving you needed full redundency....

There was an old lady in Cape Town that went for a long swim in the bay every morning of her life and never got hasseled by a shark until one day she got chomped....

Pardon me for being so blunt about it but if you reapetedly take the same irresponsible action and nothing ever goes wrong, it clearly eventually will!

#3 waterworldphotography

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 09:57 AM

Although solo diving is never a good idea, but I have been diving for thirty-seven years, and I was at one of my favorite dive locations, Morrison Springs, FL, when this incident occurred. My dive partner, his grandson and I had come to Morrison Springs that morning to find the spring flooded with the tannic acid runoff from the nearby river. After a brief surface swim, we surmised the visibility at the top of the spring was zero. My dive partner and his grandson decided not to dive due to these conditions. I decided to descend beneath the muck, and found with the exception of the lack of light the visibility was quite good. So I descended into the cave system as I have done a hundred times before to video the springs with my new GoPro camera setup. I had two Ikelite DS161 strobes that put out a lot of light. I spent about fifteen minutes filming the interior of the cave system when I heard a very loud boom directly behind my head, followed by the sound of air streaming from my scuba equipment . I ascended from the cave as quickly as possible, still being able to breathe. I then slowed my ascent rate, and breathed as shallowly as possible, not knowing when I would run out of air. As best I could tell, my air ran out about twenty feet below the surface, and I ascended freely from that point, exhaling continuously until I reached the surface of the spring. According to my dive computer, I was well within acceptable blood nitrogen levels. Although my ascent rate was too quick, I never suffered any ill effects. The GoPro camera filmed the entire event. I did dive again that day at Vortex Springs, FL, making sure to do a long decompression stop.

After examination of my double hose regulator system, I determined that a high pressure hose linking two parts of the regulator blew out.



To see youtube Video go to:

fisheyeviewphoto Robert N. Zimmerman name of Video (Near Death Experience)



#4 troporobo

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

Astonishing. You chose to dive solo, in a cave, without redundancy, in poor visibility, having passed (and documented) a warning sign that explicitly listed the very risk that eventuated. And then after a risky ascent, dove again the same day. You sir are a prime candidate for a Darwin Award.

Thank you for posting. I intend to save this as a cautionary tale . . .

Edited by troporobo, 16 September 2012 - 04:14 PM.


#5 Stoo

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

As someone who has logged perhaps 2500 solo dives, the problem with your dive was that you weren't diving as a solo diver. You were diving as half of a buddy team, and were missing the other half. When I dive alone, I dive with reduntant everything. If I were to suffer a regulator failure, I simply shit down one tank, change regulators and make a sensible ascent.

As troporobo points out so eloquently, you were truly tempting fate. And on top of this, if I understand you, you were also diving with out-dated, antiquated equipment.

I'm glad you made it out intact. Now go shopping and get some proper gear.

Edited by Stoo, 14 December 2012 - 08:31 PM.


#6 Walt Stearns

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:26 AM

I am glad to hear you made it out O.K., but am also shocked about your decision to venture into a cave at Vortex Spring as you did.
This is not a question about solo diving, or that much on carrying the type of redundancy outlined for solo diving. This is an issue of diving in a overhead environment.

The majority of divers who die in the cave systems are not certified cave divers, but recreational divers venturing beyond what they are trained for.

Most recreational divers, as you have I am sure, like to go into the cavern portion of a cave. To clarify, a cavern is typically a larger, more open portion of a cave passage where the exit point is clearly visible - due to ambient light coming in through the entrance. When cavern diving, at no time in the dive should the exit no longer be clearly visible from the diver. Once you reach a penetration point where that is no longer the case, you are now in a cave environment. This same rule very much applies to cavern environments when surface clarity is so badly compromised from silt, mud or tannin in the water that sunlight penetration is blocked out (as I was able to see in your video), meaning you where well beyond a point you should have been.

Count your self very lucky my friend, for doing something very stupid.

I apologize for being coarse in my statement, but want to be sure that my point is understood.