Case Summaries

  • Nausea at DepthDiver surfaces after experiencing symptoms without an obvious cause
  • Rapid Ascent Due to Broken Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) Equipment failure during DSMB deployment causes multiple problems for this diver.
  • Disoriented while navigating by compass in low visibility waterTwo novice divers attempt to perform too many tasks at once and had to abort dive.
  • Diving and drinking do not mix A drunken diver dives too deep, runs out of air and gets severe DCS after emergency ascent.
  • Non-functioning BCD and too much weight sinks diverOver weighted diver sinks rapidly and could not stabilize because of disconnected hose on BCD.
  • Incompetent skipper and failing boat spoiled the dive tripA warning to users, dive operators, and marinas about the importance of having a contingency plan.
  • When too much air is a bad thingCorroded auto-inflator gets stuck open leading to buoyancy problem and rapid ascent.
  • Unintentional Ascent by Student DiverA novice diver inflated his BC and resulted in an involuntary ascent.
  • Safe Diving Tips During Lobster SeasonFatalities occurred during the beginning of California's lobster season.
  • High pressure hose cracked during descentDiver credits staying calm and good training in handling cracked hose incident.
  • Inspecting for Breathing Gas Contamination A diver presenting symptoms finds oil and water in his tank during a visual inspection.
  • BC damaged in boat fire A fire on deck damaged the diver's BC without him realizing it and used it to dive.
  • Regulator inadvertently kicked out of mouth by buddyDiver lost his primary regulator due to interaction with buddy and could not use his secondary regulator which got entangled in bungee cord necklace.
  • Left-sided tank valve causes an out-of-air incidentA diver traveling out of the US was given an air tank with the valve on the left rather than the right. Diver developed difficulty breathing 40 minutes into the diveand ran out of air at 30 fsw.
  • Non-functioning BCD results in a potentially rapid descentTwo divers using rented gear found various problems from a leaky regulator to non-functioning depth gauge. They aborted the dive when one BCD would not hold air after they got in the water.
  • Immersion pulmonary edema (IPE)Diver experienced difficulty breathing at the surface after an uneventful dive.
  • Partially closed tank valve causes buddy separation and angstLessons learned, as reported by one of the divers, when an equipment problem caused him to become separated from his buddy.
  • Near-drowning due to entanglement in fishing lineA case of near-drowning due to entanglement was reported and summarized by an emergency room physician.
  • Steel Tank Causes Diver to Become Inverted While DescendingUnused to the heavy tank, a diver gets inverted during descent
  • Weight Belt Adjustment Issues with a weight belt caused a diver to be separated from his dive buddies during a night dive.
  • Do Instructors Know Your Buoyancy Without Checking?Diver in advanced diving class struggled due excess buoyancy. Instructor failed to recognize and correct the problem.
  • Post Dive Symptoms Possibly Caused by Gas Contamination Two cases of post-dive symptoms likely caused by contaminated gas. Predive checks and proper equipment maintenance may help to mitigate risk.
  • An Unexpected Solo DiveStrong current causes a diver to become separated from his buddy and group
  • Untrained Diver Dies Entangled in Kelp An untrained diver who was separated from his buddies became entangled in kelp and died.
  • Partially Closed Valve Causes Breathing DifficultyA diver with a partially closed tank valve has difficulty breathing at depth and has to share his buddy's air during ascent using a secondary regulator.
  • Overweighted Diver Runs Out of Air While SpearfishingA novice diver, using brand new equipment, ran low on air and surfaced without his buddy. At the surface, he did not have enough air to inflate his BC and had trouble staying afloat. When trying to ditch his weights, he panicked and had to be rescued by other divers on the boat before he drowned.
  • Diver Using a Full-Face Mask Runs Out of AirAn inexperienced diver with a hypersensitive gag reflex used a full-face mask on a wreck dive. He ran out of compressed breathing gas and had to take off his mask to buddy breathe. On the next dives he took a spare standard mask with him.
  • Frigid Waters Cause Regulator To IceIce on the regulator caused free flow, resulting in an aborted dive.
  • Being Underweighted Makes for an Uncomfortable DiveA diver neglected to check that he had the proper amount of weight before a dive and tried to compensate underwater.
  • Hard-Breathing Regulator Results in Emergency AscentA diver using rented equipment felt he was not getting enough air at depth. He tried buddy breathing but had little improvement. A divemaster came to the rescue by sharing his octopus, and they did a controlled emergency ascent.
  • Diver Suffers Hip Pain During Flight 36 Hours PostdiveA diver who had been on a multiple-day dive trip on a liveaboard experienced pain in his hips during the flight home. He was treated at a chamber on the third day after returning home. His symptoms resolved, but a diagnosis of DCS is uncertain.
  • Leaking Glove Leads to Ear BarotraumaA distracted diver lost buoyancy control and experienced ear barotrauma.
  • Diver’s Muscle Weakness and Tingling in Legs Indicate Possible Spinal Cord DCIA female diver surfaced from a 80fsw dive and experienced back pain and nausea. She was administered oxygen but soon experienced weakness and a "pins and needles" feeling in both legs. She received hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment almost two days later when she returned home. After three sessions in the chamber, she still has lingering symptoms in her legs. Decompression injury of the spinal cord is suspected.
  • Mayhem Dive in a Strong Current Leads To Near Drowning and Multiple InjuriesA diver encountered several incidents in one dive — including buddy separation, strong currents, faulty equipment, out-of-gas situation and lacerations —that resulted in him nearly drowning.
  • Diver on Extreme Diet Falls Ill after an Innocuous DiveAmbiguous DCS symptoms appear in a diver on an extreme low-calorie diet and hCG hormone.
  • Swivel O-Ring Pops Out UnderwaterFailure of a swivel O-ring causes an emergency ascent.
  • Stranded While Drift Diving Drift divers are stranded in open water when a dive does not go according to plan
  • Cutaneous DCS with Transient Neurological Symptoms after a Hot Shower After a hot shower, a diver experiences blotchy rash and welts along with blurred vision and some dizziness.
  • Laughing Out of AirA diver learns the importance of dive-buddy communications and predive equipment checks when both his regulators fail after removing them for some underwater laughter.
  • Savvy Diver Prevents Uncontrolled AscentAn experienced diver with an underwater scooter saves an unprepared diver who overbreathed his regulator and attempted an emergency ascent.
  • Regulator Free-Flow Leads To Failed Buddy BreathingHoses become entangled when a diver with a Hogarthian gear configuration helps an inexperienced diver with regulator free-flow.
  • Vertigo after DiveA woman who develops vertigo and nausea after two dives responds slowly to treatment for inner-ear DCS.
  • Abalone Diver Encounters Bull SharkAn experienced abalone diver recalls a shark encounter.
  • Rebreather Diver Self-Treats Postdive Shoulder Pain (DCS)First-aid surface oxygen resolves postdive shoulder pain (Type 1 DCS) after a correctly executed rebreather dive to 164 feet (50 meters).
  • DAN Will Help Divers with Breathing-Gas Analysis Two cases of air contamination show symptoms of breathing difficulty, dizziness and nausea.
  • King Triggerfish Attacks, Wounds DiverA large triggerfish attacked a diver, hitting him in the head and causing a large wound on the scalp.
  • Swapping Dive ComputersA diver had a regulator free-flow problem and decided to replace it with another of the same kind. Both had a dive computer attached. Should he use the new computer set up?
  • Omitted Predive Buoyancy Check Leads to TroubleScuba diver survives a life-threatening hazard caused by the omission of the predive buoyancy check.
  • Diver Loses Distance Vision after Innocuous DiveA young diver develops temporary nearsightedness (myopia) after repetitive, shallow, no-decompression air dives.
  • Unrecognized Ear BarotraumaA novice diver continues diving despite ear pain.
  • Compressed Gas Tears Skin, Penetrates BodyA scuba diving high-pressure hose ruptures, causing air under pressure to inject into arm. (2013)
  • Sea Lion Attacks a Scuba Diver
  • Rash and Weakness Occur After Dive and Lunch: Allergy, DCS or Both?A diver develops a postdive skin rash and weakness 30 minutes after eating a lobster sandwich. He was treated successfully, but the symptoms reoccurred with diving. Is the cause a food allergy or decompression sickness (skin bends)?
  • Diver Loses Five Fillings on One Dive A rebreather diver experiences tooth pain on ascent and loses five fillings months after dental procedures
  • Diver Experiences Rash, Coughing, Unconsciousness after Hot ShowerChokes, skin marbling and unconsciousness occur after repetitive diving and a hot shower (2012, Honduras)
  • Out-of-Shape Diver Dies During Surface SwimAn overweight 50-year-old diver suffers an apparent cardiac event while swimming.
  • Diver's Leg Paralysis Spontaneously ResolvesDespite the spontaneous resolution of postdive neurological symptoms, the diver still needs urgent medical evaluation.
  • Rebreather Diver Bails Out Due To Frequent Solenoid FiringAn omitted cell check on a rebreather leads to a near miss after frequent solenoid firing warns the diver to bail out.
  • CCR Diver Develops Immersion Pulmonary EdemaA rebreather diver developed IPE symptoms at 291 fsw (87 msw) and managed to complete her decompression obligation. (2012, USA)
  • Inverted on the Descent LineA handicapped diver with a faulty regulator nearly drowns after getting inverted in the water. (2012, USA)
  • Skin Rash Should Not Be IgnoredAn unrecognized case of skin DCS resolves spontaneously. (2012, Tobago)
  • A Flood Without FlotationA rebreather diver failed to test her rig after valve replacement. Her rig flooded, leaving her without buoyancy and breathing gas.
  • A Regulator Hose Rupture Could Be PreventedA regulator hose ruptures at 30 feet, causing the diver to make a free ascent.
  • Diving on EmptyDiver skips predive check and finds his tank is empty. (2013, USA)
  • Heavy Diver No Match for Heavy SeasHeavy seas create problems for an overweight, diabetic diver who nearly drowns after a ladder hits his head. (2012,USA)