Tuesday, 10 June 2003 00:00

Changing the Outcome - The anatomy of a serious diving accident

By Trevor Jackson - Esperance Star

Myron Wintonyk is dead. I can see that he is dead, his face is blue. Foam is oozing from his nose and mouth. White foam like from a shaken up beer can. And not just a bit, a lot! His eyes are bulging and they're open, staring at the sky. The foam seems even to be running from them too. His wetsuit is bloated, his arms are stiff. People are yelling. But its that blue colour that tells me he is dead. Its not a natural colour, it's from a movie, or its kids playing with eye shadow. I've not seen one this bad before, only in pictures, only in nightmares. I know that Myron hasn't breathed for nearly two minutes and I don't know when the foam will stop, it just keeps coming, how can we get o2 into him if it doesn't stop. Myron is dead. I point at him and I actually say it, "He's Dead!" people hear me say it. Then I turn and stop and turn back again. People are looking at me for directions, they want to be ordered, and we have to do something.

Part 1

24 hrs after that hellish scene on the duckboard of the Esperance Star, Myron Wyntonyk brought his wife and young son down to the boat to see the crew and pickup some gear. I came up the stairs from the passenger's accommodation and there he was, large as life. There he was breathing on his own, standing up, not smiling yet, but alive. His wife looked at me with tears in her eyes and simply said, "thanks". It was a phrase they would be repeating to lots of people, all round town.

The Players
Myron Wintonyk, Divemaster, 300+ Dives, the victim
Sean Inglis, rescue diver, 100 Dives, rescuer
Rachel Murphy, Instructor, 500+ dives, rescuer
Robert Cook, 300+ dives, rescuer
Damon Blackwell, Instructor,500+dives, first aid
David Walton, Instructor,500+dives,first aid
Lars Van Der Reijden, Divemaster, 100+ dives, first aid
Chris McEwan, Instructor, 300+dives, first aid
Trev Jackson, Skipper, 500+dives,Co-ordinator
Simon Mitchell, Physician, 500+dives, phone advisor
Chopper Pilot, name unknown
Paramedic, name unknown
Chopper Winch man, name unknown
Coast Guard Radio Operator, name unknown
Internet Chatroom Poster, not present, name unknown
Matthew McLean, 200+dives, witness

Saturday May 24th 2003 near Cape Moreton Qld.
7.50am Divers are walking up to the jump point on the port side of the Esperance Star. In buddy pairs they call out there gas levels to the DM and jump in. Its one of the most beautiful days we have had all year, seas are glassy calm and the viz from the surface looks as though its exceeding 20 meters. The wreck of the St Paul lies on the sandy seafloor 40 meters below. Sunk in 1914, she is one of the most popular dives in the area, attracting dozens of divers each week when the weather permits. She is also considered to be in a depth that categorizes her as a dive for experienced divers only. In terms of diving this wreck Myron Wyntonyk, with over 300 dives and the holder of a dive master's ticket for some years, would be considered an experienced diver.

8.00am Myron has appeared on the front deck wearing his Closed Circuit Rebreather. He and the dive master are talking about the dive. The dive master asks Myron if he has completed all his pre-dive checks. Myron replies that he has. He looks happy and I enquire about his intended dive plan. He says he is doing a No- Deco dive of about 9 mins planned bottom time. From outward appearance his unit looks fine and all seems well.

8.05am Myron enters the water and begins to descend with his buddy Sean Inglis. Sean reports later that Myron-"seemed all out of shape with his gear and bubbles were coming out around his mask as if he was on open circuit"

The two divers reach the bottom and can see the wreck just a few meters beyond the anchor. Sean has one eye on Myron the whole time as he felt uneasy about the way Myron seemed to be acting.-" Myron just wasn't comfortable, he seemed to be falling out of his gear, I asked him if he was ok and he was negative , he wanted to go back up, yet he wanted to swim towards the wreck, there was something seriously wrong. Myron began to swim towards the wreck; I grabbed him and spun him around. He went into a fit and was suddenly unconscious."

8.10am Rachel Murphy was nearby trying to salvage an anchor and some rope she had found. She saw that Sean had grabbed Myron and was trying to drag him back to the anchor. Myron had spat out his mouthpiece and was taking in water, Rachel went to help. She grabbed her own Occy reg and tried to force it into Myron's mouth- "It wouldn't go in because his teeth were clenched".

The pair dragged Myron up the anchor chain passing other divers as they went. At around the 8-meter mark they were met by diver Robert Cook who quickly assessed the situation and grabbed Myron himself. Rachel broke away from the victim and went quickly back down to 12 meters. Robert began to swim Myron to the back of the boat whilst Sean continued to the surface to warn the lookouts that there was trouble. He then dived straight back down to 10 meters to commence some safety stops.
Meanwhile on the boat, Damon Blackwell and myself are on the front deck looking at the bubbles coming up from the wreck. A lift bag had just appeared off the port side of the boat and we were wondering if there might be a diver doing a safety stop under it. I yelled out to Lars to keep an eye on the bag for later retrieval, as it seemed there were no bubbles near it and therefore no diver. There were heaps of bubbles coming up from near the anchor chain. Damon said-"too many bubbles, actually". Seconds later Sean broke the surface and yelled something. All I remember hearing were the words "Myron" and "Oxygen".

At first we didn't know what to think. I thought that Myron was stuck on the bottom or just needed a hand or something. I directed Damon to throw on his gear and get in to find out. Before he had a chance to get halfway along the deck we could hear the commotion at the duckboard at the rear of the vessel.

8.12am Robert Cook had arrived at the duckboard with Myron. Damon had run down the port side of the vessel and had arrived there also. Lars and Dave were already pulling Myron out of the water and out of his gear. I arrived at the back of the boat seconds later. I look down at Myron and say out loud - "He's dead"- "He's Dead!" people hear me say it. Then I turn and stop and turn back again. People are looking at me for directions, they want to be ordered, we have to do something.

Myron's face is covered with foam which just wont stop flowing. I know that we will have to clear his airway if we've got any chance of bringing him back. There are people everywhere and divers still in the water. Lars Dave and Damon are on the back deck with Robert and Myron, Christine is in the lounge behind me and I'm standing there in a momentary daze, truly believing that there is nothing we can do to save this mans life. I suddenly get dragged back into reality and someone is yelling, it's me but its all one sentence-


Part 2

8.13am. The boys drag Myron through the door into the lounge where Christine has already got the O2 ready; he's as floppy as a rag doll. Dave starts mouth to mouth, checks for a pulse while Damon chops at the wetsuit to expose Myrons chest. Chris by this stage has handed Dave a pocket mask and he continues EAR. With each breath Myron lungs ooze more foam, then finally he coughs. As soon as it looks like Myron can breathe on his own he is put on the Oxygen while someone else grabs the ventilator bag in case we need to force feed him the O2 at some point in the very near future. This has all happened in seconds. Myron has coughed up more white foam in chunky bits all through the lounge; the place smells like vomit and shit. At this point I've turned and raced through to the bridge and flicked through the channels of the marine radio to the station I know the local coast guard will hear me best on.

8.15am VHF Channel 81
Trev- "Coast Guard Redcliffe, Coast Guard Redcliffe, Coast Guard Redcliffe this is Esperance Star, Esperance Star, Esperance Star".

CG Operator- "Esperance Star this is Coast Guard Redcliffe go ahead please".

Trev-"Coast Guard Redcliffe we have a diver in trouble suspected of near drowning and of decompression illness, we require an immediate evacuation to hospital".

CG Operator-"Affirmative Esperance Star we will dispatch a vessel to your location, could you give me your exact position?"

Trev-"Aaar Redcliffe Coast Guard we are going to require an airlift for this incident, this is a serious situation, I repeat I will require an airlift!"

The coast guard operator soon asked me to go to VHF Channel 63 so I could speak to the Water Police directly. They soon transferred to the Ambulance Service who asked me to describe the patient's condition, our position and the sea conditions. I had also made a phone call during this time and had Hyperbaric Physician Simon Mitchell on the speakerphone.

8.20am We organized the airlift with the Ambulance then Simon talked me through any secondary aid we might be able to give Myron. This included the ongoing maintenance of his airway, which we were told could present a problem at any stage. Messages from the doctor and Ambulance to and from the first aiders were transferred at a rapid rate, whilst there was still the ongoing issue of divers in the water.

8.40am It would have been very easy at this point to get a bit slack in our normal dive supervisory duties, so when everyone was back I ordered several headcounts to ensure that the tension of the situation hadn't made us overlook anything. Lars had been required to go out in the pickup dinghy to gather in a few divers that had lost contact with the boat. With everyone on board I began to winch the anchor as the faint drone of the Chopper could be heard from the west above Cape Moreton. Simon was still on the phone, the guys wanted to give Myron some water but Simon said 'No Way!!!!!!!!!!!'

8.55am We had established contact with the Helicopter. I knew the protocol for an airlift so we had started to steam with the breeze just on our port bow as fast as the ES could go. I sent several of the crew upstairs to secure anything that could be blown around and to try and lower any radio aerials they could. The chopper would be very close to us and the down force is incredible. We also had the added issue of seagoing traffic. It was after all a perfect day and there were dozens of trailer boats in the vicinity. I looked ahead and could see that there would be problems ahead I told the Chopper that we may have to adjust our course as we weaved through these boats but he didn't respond, I don't know if he heard anything.

9.05am Myron was still with us. As Lars, Damon and Chris had secured the ship for the choppers arrival, Dave had stayed with him the whole time, assisted by Sean. He had begun to speak but it was gibberish. He was actually shouting through the 02 mask, it sounded like he was saying "get me to the border" but we decided later he must have meant either 'toilet' or 'hospital', or maybe 'port', I don't know.

9.15am With the Paramedics on board the tension was slightly relieved. The Chopper was right above us thundering away as we weaved through a few small boats. It must have been an amazing sight for them. The Paras went over Myron and although he was critical it was determined we could move him onto a stretcher and try to get him into the Chopper. David and Sean picked Myron up and took him onto the back deck where he was strapped into a stainless steel stretcher .We then lowered the dinghy crane and hoisted Myron above and onto the top deck, all the while weaving through a mass of stunned onlookers. The chopper came bearing in and the first Para was snapped off the top deck with Myron strapped beside her in his stretcher.

9.55am Minutes later the second Para was giving the thumbs up and in an instant he was gone and the Chopper sped off to the west. I looked around the top deck at a stunned and silenced boat crew, then wandered down stairs and pulled the revs back. I turned the boat back towards the Cape and wandered if we should just go in to port straight away. We still didn't know if Myron would live, if he had a major lung expansion injury or anything. I turned to Chris and asked her to make a cup of tea. It had just turned 10.00 o'clock; it had been quite a morning.

1.30pm We had just tied the boat up back at the Marina. It had taken three and a half hours to get in from the Cape. We had decided to call the trip off and head straight in. Rachel was beginning to shows signs of having a mild case of decompression illness. Sean Inglis had all but destroyed the inside of one of his ears in his rapid ascent with Myron in tow. Sean had voluntarily swum from 40 meters to the surface in less than thirty seconds, and then ducked back down to ten meters once he had done what he could. The whole boat was shell shocked, even the Captain. Myron had literally been dragged back from beyond the brink of death. Reports from the hospital were that he was resting and being treated for an Arterial Gas Embolism at the Wesley Hyperbaric Chamber, although the consulting Physician was fairly confident that the treatment was purely precautionary.

2.00pm I went out onto the back deck to have a look at Myron's gear to see if it could be determined what might have caused him to black out at depth. I knew that the workplace inspectors would want to confiscate the gear and find out for themselves, but I also knew that these devices would be new to them and the cause might not be apparent to someone not familiar with the equipment unless there was an obvious fault.

Part 3

It didn't however, take long to see what the problem had been.
On page three of the Buddy Inspiration Manual its states:

Attitude keeps you alive: Normally, closed circuit rebreathers are used by experienced open-circuit divers. This can bring a level of overconfidence which can lead to serious problems. You are a novice again, please accept that and build your rebreather experience gradually.

Further into the manual on page 13:
The Work of Breathing of the Inspiration is under 3 joules per litre at 50m. This is the limit specified for open circuit diving regulators. The counterlungs are in the best possible position for overall ease of breathing in each orientation of the diver.

On page 28:
It is essential to keep the breathing bags/counterlungs down on your shoulders.
They are prevented from floating upwards by the Fasted buckle located on the lower edge of each counterlung.

Then on page 31:
Holding the counterlungs down is extremely important and care must be taken to ensure they are not allowed to float above the divers shoulders. If this happens, breathing resistance will increase dramatically…. Increased breathing resistance means increased CO2 retention.

What the manual is basically saying is that inexperience will kill you and that if the counterlungs are not secured firmly down to the shoulders you could experience a CO2 build up, and we know that can kill you. But Myron's counterlungs weren't just loose and rising above the shoulder, they weren't connected to the down straps of the harness AT ALL. This would cause them both to rise almost vertically above his shoulders, causing a massive pressure gradient between his lungs and the counterlungs. He would have to really suck to draw any breath. It would be like trying to breath off a 5-foot snorkel, all-sucking with little result. That combined with the effort to get to the bottom at the St Paul, and the influences of partial pressure on the CO2 levels that were no doubt building up in Myron's system. All of it adds up to a recipe for disaster, and it took only a cursory glance to notice that Myron's harness was incorrectly fitted and that the counterlungs had not been attached to the harness. It was a mistake that could not have been detected when Myron was standing up in his gear on the front deck, as gravity held the counterlungs close in on Myron's chest, but in the water there buoyancy lifted them up and high: it was a mistake of the first order. In open circuit terms it would be the equivalent of jumping into the water with your first stage not attached to your tank valve. Back to that quote on page three of the Inspiration manual.

"Attitude keeps you alive: Normally, closed circuit rebreathers are used by experienced open-circuit divers. This can bring a level of overconfidence, which can lead to serious problems. You are a novice again, please accept that and build your rebreather experience gradually"

Myron had succumbed at depth to the insidious effects of CO2 buildup, the curse of the CCR diver. It had taken just minutes to render him unconscious, proceeded by a minute or so of appearing to have lost the plot completely. The reality in Myron's mind would have been that although he knew something was wrong he didn't know what and although he knew he had to do something his body wouldn't do what his mind told it to do.

Sean Inglis had described that Myron did not look right in his gear and he was correct, but not knowing about rebreathers himself, Sean couldn't determine the exact nature of the problem. He knew enough however to stick close enough to be able to render immediate assistance to the surface when Myron lost consciousness. If a single act should be highlighted as the root cause of Myron's survival it would be this. Followed in no small way by the first aid administered by Dave Walton at the surface. The outcome of Myron's accident had been changed by a small degree of luck and some cool heads under extreme pressure.

When Myron brought his family down to the boat the following day I couldn't help hearing my own words echo through my head "He's Dead". Yet there he was. I also couldn't get the sight of his blue face out of my mind. I asked Sean after they had left what would be the defining moment for him of the whole experience, what image would he keep forever, and it is fitting to complete this story by quoting him directly;

"When I spun Myron around on the bottom and he was gone in the head, he spat his mouthpiece out and began to jerk about, all I could think about was the night before I had watched him saying goodbye to his wife and kid in the car park, I remember noticing that he seemed to spend ages up there with them. I had this picture of him standing there with them, yeah, that's what I'll remember"

Part 4

Myron's report of the incident
"It was the first dive of the weekend. It was a near perfect day and I was ready to play with my new rebreather. The first dive was on the St. Paul. It was a familiar site and I'd been here many times before. What a better way to start the weekend. But things didn't start out that well. During an inspection of my gear just prior to the dive, I realized that my computer has a dead battery. This doesn't cause any real concerns though. Another diver had a spare and it is the same brand as mine so I am familiar with its operation. After this quick fix, the gear checked out fine.

Because of the last minute gear change, I was nearly the last diver into the water. This didn't cause any concern as I didn't plan a long dive and I'd only be a couple minutes later than the other divers.

Unlike open circuit SCUBA, a rebreather requires you add diluent (in my case air) into the breathing loop as you descend. As I descended, I did have some difficulty breathing, so, I attributed it to not adding diluent fast enough. The problem abated somewhat by adding more air, more quickly. Once on the bottom, I realized that there was another issue. I had not switched from low set point of 0.7 PPO2 to the high set point of 1.3 PPO2. This had the effect of making PPN2 higher and I believe I was also suffering from high degree of Nitrogen Narcosis. I attempted to correct this situation, but I was having difficulty focusing on the task and was unable to locate the handsets to make the switch. At about that point, I became aware that something else was seriously wrong and that I was getting more anxious by the second. I signalled my buddy that I had a problem and had to ascend. Just then, I lost contact with the anchor chain and I was slightly positively buoyant. I swam back down to the chain and then I started to move along it towards the boat. My buddy grabbed me and started pulling me the other way I turned to him and signalled again, I have a problem and I have to go up. He continued to pull me down. At this point, I remember looking up and thinking I need to go up and my buddy is pulling me down. I'm not going to make it. I thought I'm sorry Gisela (my wife), but I've failed you. I fully expected that this would end very badly. That is the last thing I remember before being revived on board.

I should note that the above paragraph was written from the perspective of a very disoriented person. I realize now that certain things didn't make sense. I kept finding things that weren't there on the way down. At the time, I thought that's odd, where did they come from. On the surface, the answer is painfully obvious. My buddy understood exactly what was going on and was pulling me towards safety. I on the other hand was swimming farther down, thinking I was trying to get out. It seems that when I lost contact with the anchor chain I tuned myself 180 degrees before I reacquired it.

Some time later, I learned that Rachel herself was in trouble at that point. She had missed a lot of decompression on the way up due to the rapid ascent. She returned to do her now mandatory decompression. Unfortunately, she now did not have enough air to complete the lengthy stop. Vanessa Dillon arrived on the scene and shared air with Rachel to allow her to complete her Safety stop. Sean had returned to do his decompression as well. After bringing me to the surface, he returned to do his decompression was well and burst his eardrum in doing so.

The next thing I remember was waking up in what appeared to be the lounge of the Esperance Star. I was lying on my side and I recognized the furniture and surroundings. Not knowing how I could possibly have gotten there, I believed that I was having a dream. Dave Walton was above me telling me that I'd had an accident. Bullshit I thought, "I'm having a dream and it's a weird one at that". I looked around some more. I recognized the people that I could see. I recognized the furniture. What the hell was I doing here? My back was hurting badly. I tried to lie flat. Dave would have nothing to do with this and kept me on my side. My throat was so dry I could hardly speak. I begged for water. I was told, "No, the doctor says you can't have any". Bloody hell, what kind of dream is this?

Shortly afterwards, I saw a paramedic. She introduced herself and spoke briefly with me. I have no idea what she said. I remember thinking, "I don't know this person". Perhaps this isn't a dream after all. Maybe this situation is serious. It was about this time that I lost control of my bowels. Let me tell you, it was a very unpleasant feeling, lying there in my own shit.

I asked the paramedic to repeat her name. She did. I could hear the logistics being discussed in the background. Where should we air lift him from? Front of back deck? Back. I was carried out and placed in a basket on the lower rear deck. They wrapped me in a blanket and then, I was winched up onto the upper back deck with the boat winch. The helicopter returned and started to winch me up. The wind makes me dreadfully cold. I hit my head on the landing gear of the chopper. I was too weak to push myself away from it. They get me into the chopper. I ask the paramedic what her name was again. She tells me again.

At this point, I was certain that this is not a dream and it was real life. OK I thought, I appear to be in good nick. I'm in a helicopter on my way to the hospital. I guess I'll be OK. A few minutes into the flight, I started having difficulty breathing. My back hurt so much that it's very painful to breathe. The problem grows rapidly worse. I would estimate I was taking 3 breaths every 2 seconds in an attempt to get air into my lungs. I am still on oxygen. I ask the paramedic what her name is, she tells me again. I ask how far to the hospital. She shows me her watch. No, how much longer? 5 minutes she tells me. I don't know if I can hold out. I'll try. I hear them radio ahead. I don't remember the words, but it sounded like they didn't expect me to be breathing when I arrived. Holy shit. This is serious.

Soon after we landed, they had me in the emergency ward. I was still not in control of my bowels yet, and there was shit everywhere. They strapped on a special mask which (as I understood it) forced oxygen into your lungs. Although I could not take any larger breaths, I was not as starved for air. I was still in severe pain though. They asked me if they I wanted them to call my wife. I told them to wait a couple of minutes. I was thinking I'd catch my breath and talk to her myself. That would be better. Obviously, I still wasn't thinking straight. They shot me up with drugs to make my breathing easier. They didn't seem to help, but at least I wasn't in immediate distress. Things happened rather quickly at this point. There were needles and IVs everywhere.

Now, they're talking about going to the Wesley for the recompression chamber. The next thing I know, I'm in another ambulance. I'm still on nearly 100% O2, but not the forced ventilator now. Once at the chamber, things slowed down again.

Various tests to see how I was neurologically (stand with your eyes closed, what date is it, and the hardest of all, what time of day is it? How the hell would I know? I've had other things on my mind …

Into the Hyperbaric chamber at 18 MSW I went for a couple hours on 100% O2 (2.8 PP02). I looked at the exact schedule, but can't remember it. Something like 20 minutes on, 10 off, 20 on, 10 off, 30 on, and then "ascend" to 9 MSW. 30 on, 20 off, 90 on. Sound pretty boring doesn't it? Well, it is during this time that I started to think that I was going to live through this thing. I began to wonder about the people who rescued me. I heard that Rachel is on her way to the chamber. I began to wonder what the hell I was thinking being down there. Simon Mitchell just happened to be in town and stopped by the chamber after hearing of my problems. After speaking with him and Trevor through the radio, the exact cause of my problems becomes clear. When I assembled my gear, I had not strapped the counter lungs down properly. This caused them to float over my head and increased breathing effort. Because of this, my body produced more CO2 and could not get rid of it. A CO2 "hit" is what I experienced.

About the time that I was released from the chamber, Rachel arrives for her treatment. I was feeling pretty good physically by then, so I spent some time talking with her. Again I realized the danger that my friends have placed themselves in to save my ass.

I spent the night in the hospital under observation. Presumably for secondary drowning and salt-water aspiration and any other complications. I was released from the hospital at about 9:00 the following morning. I conferred with the hyperbaric chamber and was told that I did not require any follow-up treatments.

Later that day, I returned to the Esperance Star to retrieve my gear and I confirmed that it is assembled incorrectly. I can't believe that I made such a stupid mistake.

Although I am physically unscathed, mentally, I am in not in such good shape. The following few days are very traumatic. I find myself crying often which is not like me at all. On the following Tuesday, I contacted a couple of my friends who were there. After talking to them, I realized that it's not just me that's struggling with the aftermath. They are having difficulty dealing with it as well. As odd as it seems to me, some were worried that they didn't do enough. While I was thinking what else could they possibly have done. After all, I'm not only alive, but well.

Everyone will need to deal with this in their own way, but it is apparent that it's not a simple thing. It's not just me that has to deal with this, but my family and my friends that were there too. I can only imagine the picture of me lying on the duckboard, "slate blue grey face, foam oozing from every orifice, his eyes were wide open … unconscious and not breathing or responding to any stimuli". My friends have to live with the image, after all, they saw it, "fortunately", I was elsewhere at the time.

There is no way to thank my saviours. There is no doubt in my mind that if they had not acted quickly and decisively, I would not be in the condition I am in today. Perhaps crippled, perhaps brain damaged to some extent, perhaps dead. The fact that I not only survived, but am at work on Monday is totally amazing. When I think about it for longer than a few seconds, I start to cry.

I am so sorry to have put people in such danger. I am so sorry for causing such stress to my friends. Killing myself I can live with, but … Thankfully, their injuries were relatively minor in nature.

I am fortunate to be alive, and as Trevor said, there was luck involved, but as I see it, it was the fact that I was on board with the right people. After that, there was no luck (either good or bad) involved. I did it to myself. No excuses.

What have I learned from this incident? Well, the CCR is a serious piece of kit. This I knew. However, what I did not fully comprehend before was the fact that you MUST be able to concentrate and I mean concentrate on 10 things at once. If you can't you shouldn't be using a rebreather. I think it's that simple. I lost concentration and damn near died, probably should have died. So there are several questions for me to answer over the next 6 weeks while I'm out of the water … will I dive again? Duh.. yes, for certain. Will I dive a CCR or OC? That one is much more difficult. I certainly want to dive CCR, but to determine that, I must determine if I can concentrate on 10 things at once for an extended period of time. I have to look at myself, nothing to do with diving. Can I do this? I've failed once. If I fail again, the chances of such a good outcome are slim at best. I have 6 weeks to think about it. I'll keep you posted. If I decide I can't, perhaps I should have taken that $55 I was offered for the thing at the chamber. I hear Inspirations don't sell to well on eBay.

In closing, thanks to all involved. Trevor has mentioned many of them, but I know in my heart that Trevor himself had a big role too. If I had to guess, he kept everyone on task and made sure things got done (sound pretty easy). I owe my life to each and every one of these people. I downloaded my computer last night. I see that I was brought from 38M to the surface in less than 30 seconds. They could have killed themselves. That's a selfless act. I was on board and having CPR administered to me so quickly that there was no brain damage, meaning that CPR began with 4 minutes of me going unconscious. Damn that's fast. A few more seconds here or there and the result would have been somewhat less satisfactory.

Part 5

From a rescuers viewpoint
We rolled him over and fluid poured from him ( like emptying a container ). When I started EAR fluid would pour out of him with each time his chest contracted. After the first set I looked for a pulse but could not feel it. At that time I looked at Damon who was busy trying to cut away his wetsuit ( with a kitchen knife )so that we could begin CPR. I'm sure that he thought exactly the same as me " that this is useless he's dead". I continued EAR getting more fluid pour out after each breath. I then checked again for a pulse and thought I could feel one. Myron still was not breathing.

Christine then handed me a mask which I used for another maybe 6 breaths. It was at this stage that Myron took his first breath and Lars called out to you "He's breathing" I'm certain that you were on the phone to Simon at this stage. We then got him on the O2 but had to pull the mask away after about every third breath as it filled with fluid. His breathing began to quicken and his pulse became very obvious. ( I suspect that whilst this seemed an improvement was perhaps Myron's most critical time ). His breathing then slowed and he gained consciousness very quickly.

From a passenger's viewpoint
"Today on an early morning dive on the St Paul (42m) a male diver experienced difficulties and soon after reaching the bottom passed out unconscious. The diver's buddy and a DM on the trip immediately ascended to the surface with the unconscious diver where resuscitation was commenced and breathing re-established by a passenger and staff, while the crew immediately contacted emergency services and called for air evacuation of the patient. Contact was maintained while the helicopter was in transit with a diving physician providing direction on the ongoing treatment of the patient.

The then conscious patient was air lifted off the boat by the rescue helicopter service and transported to Wesley for subsequent treatment.

I would like to say as a witness to a large portion of the above events that the action of several individuals stand out and the whole emergency was handled with exceptional calm, poise and professionalism by the dive staff, involved passengers and crew of the Esperance Star. I cannot strongly impress enough how the quick and decisive actions of the individuals and staff involved prevented an extremely serious incident deteriorating. The successful airlift and transfer of the patient is a credit to all involved.

In light of the accident and the suspected DCS of one rescuer, and blown ear drum of the other, the remainder of the trip was cancelled, and we returned to harbour, so that others could other could seek proper medical assessment.

At this point I can add no other details except that the patient was receiving chamber treatment from last reports and that my thoughts are with the patient and his family and for his speedy recovery.

As usual speculation will be rife in this incident, but I ask that we can all show some restraint and hope that the person involved will be in a position to recount his experience at some point in the future.

To that end I will not be responding on this forum to any inquires regarding the incident." Matthew MacLean [MHD]

Anonymous Chatroom Poster
"What a great look for the industry, is this Recreational diving Trevor. Why do you need to go so deep and stay so long when to a lot of people you can't do it very well (Look at your History Trevor). How many people is that now on ES, how many more people now have we lost to diving that will never try because of what was reported in the news.

People die and get injured so why do it.

Why praise you, when yes you may of save his life, but how come they always need saving on ES, and with certain dive operators.

Ask some questions on why it happened how it happened and how does the industry stop the people that let it happen.

ES is a boat that the industry need it to stop operating, or Trevor stop doing stupid profiles. Look at what your actions is doing on the dive industry. Wake or get out or you will get forced out. " Anon

And from the Doctor
"As the "diving physician" referred to in MHD's original post, I would just make the comment that this is yet another example of a critical emergency that was handled in an exemplary manner by the ES crew. My friendship with Trevor Jackson is no secret, but it is an honest friendship and I do not hesitate to tell him when I think he has missed the mark on any issue. Matters such as this are no exception. However, I have been the recipient of patients (previously) and advisor (on this occasion) during emergencies on ES, and in contrast to the vacillation and muddling that I often see, Trevor and his crew never seem to have any difficulty in facing up to what has to be done, and then doing it professionally. My congratulations to all involved. Without any doubt a life saved." Simon Mitchell