Thursday, 10 January 2008

One more Cayman Diving Death

Just after posting the above blog entry about dive accidents in Cayman, the following appeared in the Cayman Net News.

Woman dies while scuba diving
Published on Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) have begun an investigation after the death of a 47-year-old female scuba diver on Saturday, 19 January.

At around 10:40 am, the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from a member of the public reporting that a woman aboard a dive boat was unconscious and being brought back to shore at West Bay public beach.

Medics and police were deployed to the scene while CPR was administered aboard the boat. The woman was taken to hospital but unfortunately passed away. It would appear she had been diving with a group of others when she passed out returning to the surface.

The woman had been vacationing in Cayman and was from England.

A police investigation is underway and a post mortem will be carried out.

This the first diving death reported in 2008.

In 2007, five divers died during the first four months of the year.

The first fatality occurred on 24 January 2007 and involved a 54-year-old man scuba diving near Sunset House.

On 11 February, a 43-year-old woman disappeared while diving on Bloody Bay Wall during a trip from Little Cayman Beach Resort.

On 4 March 2007, a 71-year-old man died while scuba diving off East End and just a week later, on 11 March, a 57-year-old man from Texas died while on a dive off Smith’s Cove on South Church Street.

Then, on Sunday, 15 April, another visitor to Little Cayman, this time a 59-year-old man who was an experienced diver, failed to return from a dive on Bloody Bay Wall.

At the time, Hon Charles Clifford, Minister for Tourism, said the Cayman Islands had a much better safety record than other destinations in the region. His comments were backed up by the fact that there were no further serious incidents reported during the rest of 2007.

A source within the dive industry said they felt that it was unfair to single out specific activities. “We should be looking at the overall picture and the causes of these deaths,” they said, adding that the majority of the deaths seemed to be due to pre-existing conditions rather than the activity itself.

However, it may be some time before an official verdict is given on any of these incidents. All the deaths must be the subject of an inquest but, as there is no on-island Coroner, delays of up to two years can occur before the cause of death is finally decided.

In 2007, concern was expressed that this delay makes it very difficult to implement measures, which might prevent future fatal incidents involving divers.

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