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These are two very thought provoking accounts of the incident that killed one of the worlds best cave divers, the accounts are written by Bill Gavin and George Irvine

I'll paste the first account which is Gavins followed by Irvines who was then acting as a support diver back in the early days of the WKPP


Diving Accident at Indian Springs

by Bill Gavin

There's a lot of talk these days about the need for experience in conducting technical
dives without an real clarification of what being an "experienced diver" really means.
Some equate it to an individual's years in diving. Others equate it to the number and
types of dives the conducted or certifications earned. Ultimately perhaps it is a measure
of a diver's ability to function effectively under pressure when everything goes wrong.

When Bill Gavin's account of the freak accident that resulted in Parker Turner's death
first appeared in the NACD Journal (Vol.23 No. 4, 4th Qt. 1991) it caused a number of
us to reexamine our own experience in light of the test that was put to Gavin and
Parker. Their skill and experience as a team was probably the only thing that prevented
this tradegy from turning into a double fatality.

This article has now become a part of the training manual at the Key West Technical
Diving Center and is required reading for everyone beginning a gas course. How do you
rate something as elusive as experience?

Read on. M2

This is an account of the diving accident at Indian Springs on November 17, 1991, that
resulted in the death of Parker Turner. It is an account of the experiences of the dive
team and not of the surface personnel or support divers that were present that day. That
information is included in a separate report.

Our dive at Indian Springs was the first in a series of exploration dives that had been in
the planning stages for nearly two years. Because of the unique profile of the cave and
the extreme depth at the point at which actual exploration would take place special
decompression tables had been generated by Dr. R.W. Hamilton. The dive plan
consisted of a 40 minute transit at 140 FSW while breathing an EAN 27 travel mix (27%
oxygen, balance nitrogen), a descent and exploration at 300 FSW using trimix 14/44
(14% O2, 44% He, balance N2) followed by the return 40 minute transit to exit the cave.
The deep working phase of the dive was expected to last 20 to 25 minutes. The 140
FSW penetration and exit was done using two 80 cubic feet "stage" bottles, while the
deep portion was accomplished using back mounted double 104's.

The dive went almost exactly according to plan during the penetration. The deep section
known as "Wakulla Room" was explored in three different directions. None of these
yielded any going tunnel or evidence of flow. We began our exit at 63 minutes into the
dive. At this time I had 2300 psig in my double 104's and I assume that Parker had the
same or slightly less. We reached our nitrox bottles at the top of the room in two to three
minutes, began breathing them, and did not use our doubles again until we encountered
the obstruction at what is known as the "Squaws Restriction." After picking up our
second stage bottle during the exit, Parker signalled that his Diver Propulsion Vehicle
seemed to be running slow. We linked up via a tow strap and I increased the speed
setting on my DPV to maximum. We were only about 1500 feet from the entrance, so
this did not present a serious problem.

There is a distinctive arrow marker at the upstream/downstream junction which is about
500 feet from the entrance. As this arrow came into view, I remember estimating that
our bottom time was going to be somewhere between 105 to 110 minutes. We made
the left turn at this arrow and immediately noticed that the visibility in the cave had
decreased. The floor was completely obscured by billowing clouds of silt, but the line
was still in clear water near the ceiling. As we got closer to the entrance, the visibility got
progressively worse. Finally, we had to stop using the DPV and swim while maintaining
physical line contact. When we got to where I thought the restriction should be, the line
disappeared into the sand on the bottom of the cave. We began pulling the line out of
the sand, but some reached a point where it was buried too deep. Visibility in this area
was 1 foot or less. I heard Parker shout into his regulator, "What's this?" We backed up
out of the low area and removed our stage bottles and scooters. At about this time, the
second bottle that I had been breathing during the exit ran out. Realizing that the
situation was not going to be quickly resolved, I elected to switch immediately to my
doubles, which still had about 2000 psig of gas. There were two lines running parallel in
the cave at this point. We tried following both of them, but each time got to a point
where the line could not be pulled from the sand which had covered it.

I secured the line from the reel that we had carried with us to the end of the permanent
line (where it was buried) and tried to search for a way out. The restriction seemed to be
completely blocked with sand and perhaps rock. The visibility was so bad that we could
not really figure out exactly where we were or what had happened. However, there was
flow and I tried to follow that. After finding no way past the blockage, I began to have
doubts about our exact location. It seemed as though we must have made some
mistake. While Parker continued to search, I swam about 300 feet back into the cave
until I saw the upstream/downstream arrow marker. Though this marker is quite
distinctive, I had to stare at it for a few seconds to convince myself that I really knew
where we were. I swam back to the point where we had left our bottles and scooters.
Parker was waiting there.

I am not sure how many attempts we made to retrieve the buried line, but at least 45
minutes passed while we sought in vain for some way out. At one point Parker showed
me his pressure gauge which indicated about 400 psig of gas remaining in his doubles.
He wrote on his slate, "What do we do?" I knew he was hoping I had some idea, but the
only thing I could think to write back was "Hold on. I'll go look."

I went back to search using my reel and sweeping left and right. Finding no exit, I
decided to return to the stage bottles, which at least had a little more gas to offer. I had
been gone for less than five minutes. When I returned to the bottles, Parker was not
there. I found my second stage bottle, which had about 600 psig left in it. I began
breathing it while trying to think of some plan. After about four minutes it ran out and I
switched back to my doubles, which now had less than 300 psig of gas. With no other
alternative, I decided to try one last effort at finding an opening. As I started back out I
saw that another line had be "Tee'd" into the permanent line. I followed it without really
understanding how it had gotten there. I reached a point at which the cave seemed to
open up and saw something hanging down on the edge of my vision. As I swam under
the object it dimly occurred to me that it was the second stage of a scuba regulator. By
now my doubles were almost empty and my regulator caught on my manifold as I
passed. I rolled to my left to free it. At this point, I looked up and saw the permanent line
rising at a sharp angle. I realized that I had cleared the restriction and raced to our
decompression bottles, which were hung at 100 feet. I was almost holding my breath by
the time I unclipped the second stage and began breathing from my first decompression
bottle. Parker was not at the bottles and I realized at this time that he had drowned.

The regulator that had caught on my manifold was from his doubles, which he had
removed and dragged through the small opening. I had no idea where Parker was and
the visibility was still less than two feet. Numbly, I waited for support personnel to find
me. In the confusion that followed, many lines were laid throughout the cavern area by
our support divers in attempt to locate Parker's body. Despite their efforts, he was not
found until the following morning when visibility had increased to about 10 feet. It had
been 60 feet or better when we started our dive.

During the four hours of decompression that followed, I was gradually filled in on the
situation by our support crew. Without their efforts, I think I would have gone mad
wondering what had happened. For a long time I did not know if the entire entrance to
the cave had collapsed or if anyone else was missing. I also had no idea what kind of
decompression to follow. Though I fully expected to suffer decompression sickness, I
emerged from the water with no physical damage. Apparently the fact that we had been
shallower than expected during our deep exploration saved me from that malady.

After going over the incident countless times we were able to deduce what probably
happened during those last minutes. While waiting for me, Parker must have decided to
take his tanks off and try to squeeze through the blockage. Running short on gas, he
probably decided that he couldn't wait any longer. He Tee'd in his safety spool and,
dragging his tanks, was able to find a way through the blockage. Perhaps in doing so he
caused the sand to shift enough that I was able to pass through a few minutes later with
my doubles still on. After making it through the restriction he ran out of gas just 30 feet
short of our decompression tanks. When he passed out, he dropped his doubles and
floated to the ceiling about 15 to 20 feet above. His tanks landed on the permanent line
and hung there. The line from the safety spool was tangled around his tanks. Whether
this contributed to his death is impossible to say. Certainly it would have been difficult to
lay line while dragging tanks and fighting extreme positive buoyancy from his drysuit.
Miraculously, this combination of events, the line tangling on his tanks which then
caught on the permanent line, placed the line from his spool in the only location large
enough for a diver in doubles to squeeze through. I believe that even a one minute
delay in my exit would have been enough to prevent me from ever reaching the
decompression bottles.

It is still a mystery as to what caused the collapse at Indian. The actual physical event
was that an unstable debris slope slid downhill filling the small restriction with sand. At
about the same time, surface personnel witnessed a drop in the water level in the basin
of approximately one foot, and a reversal of the spring run leaving Indian. Within 30
minutes, the water had dropped and returned to its normal level. Perhaps 100,000
gallons of water has rushed into the cave and several tons of sand had moved downhill
several yards. The rush of water into the cave was great enough both in magnitude and
duration to affect visibility 500 feet from the entrance.

I will not attempt to describe the effect this accident has had on myself or Parker's many
friends and family. To say that we have lost a good friend, that we will miss him, that his
place in our lives can never be filled is all true and also inadequate. Grief is a personal
emotion, difficult to completely comprehend, and for me, not easily shared. To the many
friends that have helped me through this, I offer a thanks the depth of which only they
can understand. In all times to follow, whether diving together or in moments shared on
other pursuits or when far apart, I will not forget any of you.

George Irvine [email protected]
Fri, 25 Oct 2002 19:01:48 -0400

When I logged this dive in my book, I wrote, "this might be my last cave
dive".  It was my 77th cave dive, but someplace up near my 1000th "tek"
dive, and I was still scared  cave diving. Up to this point, I was always
overwhelmed with joy at making it out of a cave alive, and empathized with
Rob Palmer's mention of the "grass always looking greener and the sky more
blue" after each dive in his "Blue Holes of the Bahamas" book, a story of
exploration and adventure which describes  accurately why we  keep coming

I had only been a minor WKPP support diver up to this point. My instructor,
who was also Director of the WKPP, extended my time to getting a cave card
out for a full year, and I had received that  card from him on the plane
down to Mexico on the way to do some diving in a system that I had been
exploring with some other WKPP divers. Lamar English had taken me under his
wing immediately after I started the initial cave class, and I had found
Jarrod Jablsonski right away, so I had hit the ground running and was
averaging about two cave dives per week.

This day was to be my first support dive of any distinction in the WKPP.
Parker and Bill Gavin were to do a dive to the end of Indian Springs to try
extending that cave out past where Exley had left off in his exploration in
a lead Gavin had spotted on an earlier dive. The system had been down for
months, and was now finally diveable. Parker had basically invited all his
friends to come dive, and made up dives for us that were really
unnecessary, but he wanted to get the team moving again.  Lamar English and
I were to put in the deep deco bottles and ride out a ways to mark
unexplored leads. Bill Main and his dive partner were to put in the
intermediate bottles and do the same behind us. Everyone else was
supporting on land and in the basin, or just doing a dive.

Right from the start , things went strangely. Parker appeared distracted,
and was not feeling well. Most of the more experienced  WKPP divers were
all sick and in street clothes, so could not dive and were running the
surface, so I offered to do the dive in Parker's place. Parker said, "Don't
you think that would be a bit much to bite off right now?".  His stages
were not all the way full, and he had a 3x Tekna scooter (Gavin had a
Gavin). I offered my full bottles and more powerful scooter. He said, "No,
it's too late". He then asked me for the keys to my car. I had a built in
phone , and a month later when I got the phone bill, I saw he had phoned
his house. That was November 17, 1991 - I don't need to look at my log to
remember that. His wife later told me that he called her to tell her he
loved her.

I had mixed the backgas for both Lamar and myself, but had done so based on
the wrong depth - we did not know the cave went deeper than 150.  We
dropped down to 110 feet and clipped off deco bottles for Parker and Bill,
then took off upstream.  Bill Main and his partner entered a few minutes
later.  Behind us, Main had called his dive about 1200 feet in and turned.
Lamar and I rounded a corner about 3500 feet in and the depth crossed 150.
I looked at my gauge when I had to clear my ears, and let off the trigger.
I saw Lamar's blades stop spinning at the same moment. We were floating
there , looking at the white tunnel in front of us. I reached for my
wetnotes, try to figure out how I was going to tell Lamar that the analysis
had come out two points over spec and that we had to turn - it was always
me who weenied on the long dives he liked to do, but he turned to me with
the scariest look in his eyes I have ever seen, and took my notes from me.
He wrote, "Bubba, we are a little deep for this mix", and I was off the
hook, but the look sent chills through me. Now I was scared, but I did not
know why.

We turned and scootered back towards the entrance, and came across Bill
Gavin and Parker nearing the  stage drop. Gavin was really something to see
in the water, so we stopped about 75 feet away and turned to watch them
make the switch. Gavin floated methodically and executed the perfect drop
and switch. Parker turned back and scootered a few feet towards me, let go
of his scooter, switched his light to his right hand, held his left hand
out to the side in an "OK" signal and shined the light on his hand. I
returned the signal. He then went back to where Gavin was waiting and
dropped his stage.

Lamar and I continued out, but never saw Bill Main - he must have turned
right before we reached him. At the upstream/downstream T, Lamar stopped
and checked his gas, pointed downstream and gave me the "little bit"
signal. I checked my gas and gave him the "OK" signal.  Again he suddenly
stopped and that look came back, only this time he showed me the thumb.
Now I was scared again. We scootered back to the restriction and moved
through. I was felling a lot better now, we were out of the cave. I checked
Parker and Bill's bottles - everything ok - and we started moving up to
where Bill Main and his partner were decompressing above us.

At fifty feet, my computer wanted some unrealistic deco, so I took it off,
strapped it to my scooter, and dropped the scooter to the floor below.  It
had been about 4 minutes since we cleared the restriction. Suddenly ,
everything cut loose. The water went rushing past us from above and the
cavern blitzed in an underwater sandstorm. Bill Main and I both went
instinctively to the ceiling to try to recapture what we thought was my
runaway scooter - we both figured it had to be the scooter trashing the
place and blowing the water on us from above. We could not see it sitting
below us peacefully on the floor. What was really happening was that the
water was rushing in from holes in the ceiling above, pulling sand and silt
in with it, and in from the entrance to the cavern. What we did not know is
that someplace in the system an aquaclude had cut loose turning the cave
into a violent syphon which lowered the water level in the basin by a full
foot and pulled whitewater rapids backwards up the spring run. The rushing
water pulled sand and debris over the restriction at the entrance of the
cave and the movement suddenly stopped. All of the silt and sand water had
been sucked into the cave, so amazingly we were sitting in clear water

I dropped down to my scooter , still not believing it was not responsible,
only to find it untouched. I noticed that the deco stop was gone from the
screen - it had been four minutes that the cave flowed backwards. None of
us got it. Nobody on the surface got it. Nobody came in to check on us.
This would be a day that ended the easy going "volunteer" WKPP of old, if
it did not end it for ever. In fact, that day all but four of us quit the
Project and most quit cave diving for good.

Gradually, the cavern started silting out again. Lamar and I were getting
uncomfortable about it, but we still did not know why. Bill Main and his
partner had already long gotten out.  We were at 20 feet. I decided to
check on Parker and Bill, so I dove back down to 110 feet. Everything
appeared the same, but I did not go far enough to see the restriction,
which was no longer there. The bottles were untouched in the same place I
had put them , clipped to the line.  I began wondering about the length of
the dive relative to the gas supply, but these guys were the pros. I came
back up to Lamar, and did not see the support divers come past me in the
silted out cavern, but figured they must be there and must be silting it
out. What was really happening was that the cave had blown the restriction
back open again, and the silt cloud inside was flowing out. Lamar and I

Lamar was right up against me on the surface, and he had that look again.
We were out of earshot of everyone. He asked me if I saw Parker and Bill
went I had gone back down. I said "no, their bottles are still there". He
floated there thinking . Then the support divers popped up by the dock.
Steve Irving asked them if everything was OK. One said, yes. Steve  said,
"Did you see them both, where are they?". One said , "I saw Bill". the
other said, "I saw Parker, he waved at me". The other said, "That was not
Parker, that was me".

Lamar got real close to me and whispered, "Bubba, something is not right. I
am going to go check".  He dropped down, and reappeared about two minutes
later, again whispering, "Parker is screwed I found his tanks on the line
with his light on and he and Bill are not there". I deflated my wings and
dropped down, scootering down the now blacked out cavern to 110 feet. I
passed one intermediate bottle clipped to the line and then I saw one deep
bottle still clipped to the line.

I clipped in with my spool and  hit the inflator, going to the ceiling. I
kept trying to remember what that cavern had looked like, but I had never
really taken a good look. I was amazed at how far up it went. I then
started sweeping in the zero vis, banging along the ceiling of the cavern.
I ran smack into Gavin. I could not tell who it was at first, and was
feeling all over him to see if he was alive. He did not move, but I could
hear him breathing. I found his pressure gauge and held it up to my mask -
it read zero. I grabbed his stage gauge and saw he had gas, He was on his
shallow bottle. He had used the deep bottle and jettisoned it apparently,
and was still sitting on the ceiling, off the line, silted out on the
second bottle.

He passed me a little tiny slate. I could not read it. I pressed it up to
my mask and shined my light at the side of the clear silicone skirt -
"Parker is dead". I felt like my heart stopped. I kept holding the slate to
my mask. I woke back up - I had to get Gavin to some gas. I asked him if he
knew where his oxygen was. He said yes. I did not believe him. I don't
think he cared where it was. I realized he was not in a good space. I could
not get him to move. I tied my reel to him, then ran it to the trough, then
out and to the surface , over to the dock and tied it off to a piling.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked down at me from the dock.
I tied to get myself together to speak.

"Parker is dead", I could hardly get the words out. Bill Main started
pacing back and forth. He said, "That is not supposed to happen". I said,
"Bill, you have to go down and get Gavin - he won't move". I tied off to
him. Just follow the line and get him up to the trough. Lamar went down my
line and Bill had his tanks on in seconds. They followed the line to
Gavin, moved him to the trough and sat there with him for nearly four
hours. I never asked what went on, but I didn't have to and didn't want to
know. Bill Gavin was beyond upset.

When I saw that Bill Main and Lamar were on it, I went back down the main
line, tied in and began sweeping again. I did this nine times with stages
and backgas until I ran out of gas. I could not find Parker. I forgot to
decompress, and just got out when the gas was gone. I was sick. The cops
were there and it seemed like 100 other people were streaming in. I
remember Tara Tanaka showing up and a bunch of other cave divers, like they
appeared by some magic call. Everyone kept asking me if he could be in an
air pocket on the ceiling, and I kept telling  them that the ceiling was
well under water. I got sick of telling them that and went to my car and
called Alton. Alton loved Parker and so did I.

Bill Main and Sherwood Schile got in the car and drove over to tell Penny
Parker, not the kind of thing you ever want to have to do, and they were
the only ones among us who could do it that day. We told the cops we needed
to go reload our gas and come back to look for Parker. We all went back to
Steve Irving's house where the compressor was. Bill Gavin parked his van
outside and sat there all night, while Carlyanne Johnson stayed with him.
We went  back down the next morning, and Gavin laid out the plan for
clearing the restriction and bringing out Parker. Then the cops showed up
told us they had done it at 6:00 am. Parker had trained them to cave dive
and do body recoveries. They did not want to leave him in there. Gavin and
the rest then got ready to go in and retrieve all the gear that was behind
the restriction. I did not want to get back in the water for gear, even with
light duty Gavin assigned to me. I got in my car and left for Ft
Lauderdale. I cried all the way to Perry. I don't know whether it was
because of Parker, or because four more minutes later would have meant all
of us.

Gavin later told me that he and Parker had reached where the restriction
was supposed to be and the line just disappeared under the sand, and that
the main tunnel was totally blacked out. Parker's scooter had failed and
Bill was towing him. He got Parker to wait while he scootered back to the
upstream/downstream T to see if maybe he had gone the wrong way.  Imagine
what was going through the  mind of an 18 year veteran cave diver diving in
a place he knew like his own house. He came back to the restriction. For 45
minutes they tried to find a way out, tying in their spools to where the
line was buried and searching forward. Gavin told me they were down to
almost no gas, and he knew they were going to die. He said he did not want
to see Parker die so he moved over to die by himself. At that moment, they
felt the water flowing, and followed it. Parker had taken his tanks off and
was dragging them behind him. Gavin left his on. Both had hit the entrance
as it blew open with less than 100 psi in their tanks. Without his
backtanks for weight, Parker must have been struggling to stay down, used
the last of his gas  and blacked out. The ceiling on the other side of the
restriction is at least 30 feet above the floor, and he could not hold on .
Gavin made it the few feet to his bottle and got the deco gas just as he
ran out. Gavin told me that knowing you are going to die is the most
desperate feeling there is. He said you don't ever want that to experience
that. All of our worst fears in cave diving demonstrated.

I called Jarrod. He said, "you have to get back in the water". I did not
even want to take a shower, let alone go cave diving. A few weeks went by,
and Jarrod told me to come up to High Springs and he would go diving with
me. I called Lamar, and got him to meet us at Ginnie. We were both freaked,
but JJ stayed real calm with us. JJ told me, "We'll just do an easy dive,
you have to get back in". We geared up, and then Lamar stopped, "I just
can't dive right now", so JJ repeated to me, "you have to get back in the
water", so I went. He started out real slow and easy, attentive as always,
no stress. The cave was clear and beautiful. It was night and nobody was
there.  We dropped our stage at the Hinkle and dove all over the back of
the cave, in ever squirrelly, crazy place JJ knew, and came back out about
90 minutes later with one of the best cave dives I had ever done. JJ got me

A couple of months later I called Bill Gavin and got him to go to Mexico
with me.  Parker had told him he needed to see the stuff that we had seen,
so we took a couple of weeks and did the tour. By the end of the trip,
Gavin was back and talking about moving to Mexico, but that experience
never let him alone. In the film NHK made about the WKPP, in an interview
with Gavin, he said, "A day has not passed that I have not thought about

· Registered
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Dave, mate.....

Indian Springs was brought up by another "DIRwannabe".....

Remember Ammers.

Reality check mate...... Don't go so far that sneezing becomes colonic irrigation..... Why not just post the "wah-wah" article as well?

Safe, not stereotyped Drifty

PS - Not to continue but.... Rob Palmer

· Just not enough dive time.
9,000 Posts
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Dead at 100 feet and one of the best cave divers ever, scary stuff. We should all learn from that and yes it does give an insight into GI's attitude. Not sure if he's right or wrong but its a bit more understandable where he's coming from. But is it applicable to ALL diving?

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1,751 Posts
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Driftwood @ Mar. 19 2003,01:26)]Dave, mate.....

Indian Springs was brought up by another "DIRwannabe".....

Remember Ammers.

Reality check mate...... Don't go so far that sneezing becomes colonic irrigation..... Why not just post the "wah-wah" article as well?

Safe, not stereotyped Drifty
Drifty mate

If someone brought this up a while back then you'll have to forgive me as I only read it last night after following some links from a site and was left deep in thought at the events and wondered how it must of felt, I then suddenly thought that it might be interesting reading and thought provoking to others too so in a moment of madness I pasted it into YD..

Sorry it offended you mate, I wrongly assumed I was adding content to my favourite website

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Reality check mate...... Don't go so far that sneezing becomes colonic irrigation..... Why not just post the "wah-wah" article as well?
Hmmm.... Drift I really reallyget the urge to reply to this one but I shall refrain until we meet at the next YD gig, ok?

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Safe, not stereotyped Drifty
You are the least stereotypical person that I've ever met Drift, infact 'unique' is a term that could be used for yourself but after so many recent events Drifty me ol'cock 'Safe' is something that you shouldn't use as a parting shot.

· DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
10,096 Posts
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Well i thought it was a very thought provoking and interesting article. Like the BSAC incident report, always something to learn.

Personally i will not go near caves, although i am quite happy penetrating wrecks.

My Cousins Husband drowned cave diving in Mexico a few years back. Bit close to home for me.



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Thought the article was bloody great myself; powerful, descriptive, emotive and downright tragic.  Just goes to show that, no matter what your skill/experience level and state of preparedness, when Mother nature intervenes you've definitely had your chips.

They didn't give up right till the very last and I think it says something very positive about them and the WKPP as a whole, that they could maintain such a disciplined and well-drilled approach to trying to find their way out.  and under THAT much pressure ...

Overhead environment - pitch black - deco obligations - nearly out of gas - exit blocked - going to die.

And they still managed to tie in to the lines etc and try to think their way out of it logically.  Personally, my respect for their organisation as a whole has gone up about fifty notches and it most definitely does give a welcome insight into the mindset and attitude of a certain GI3.

DIRwannabe?  Well if it training to their standards turned me into that good a diver, then yes please..

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I don't know if it is because I carried in my preconceptions about GI3 but I found his account somewhat annoying.  Alhtough Gavin's was exceptionally humble and moving there was something about the tone of GI3s that seemed overdramatised and egocentric.  As I say though, it could just be that I knew GI3 had written it and it made me read it expecting that kind of style.  Did anone else pick that up - all the premonition-style "scary looks", and super-hero styling?

The whole incident is about the most frightening thing I could imagine happening whilst diving.  Although the beautiful pictures from some of these caves are completely awe-inspiring I would never, ever imagine myself venturing into one.  Account like this just add to that conviction.  You are at the mercy of rock and debris that has spent thousands of years being eroded by water.  It doesn't matter what you do right, if it all collapses you are stuck, contemplating you own iminent demise.  How Gavin could recover from an experience like that and dive again I will never be able to comprehend.

Certainly thought-provoking but what I would be interested to know is whether  if it happened now would GI3 react the same way and throw all his personal safety considerations out the window (forgetting to decompress etc) to save a friend?



· Resident Serbian Sniper
480 Posts
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (ralphy @ Mar. 20 2003,10:41)]And they still managed to tie in to the lines etc and try to think their way out of it logically.  
To be honest Ralphy,and I mean no disrespect to anyone here,if someone is'nt able to do this in a given situation then they should'nt be there,hence the likes of WKPP,CDG etc.with "selection",mentorship,training,etc.
In fact,if someone can't do that...........then they should'nt be diving period.
If they are unable to function in a dire situation they're a risk to themselves and others,they should go back to ball games.Such abilities as recounted avbove in such demanding conditions are not to be taken lightly,and it would be a fool who ventured into such conditions in ignorance.(that said,what else could they do?Just sack it?).Indeed,those same abilities should be present even in OW divers,they're still in an alien environment on a life support system.Too many people consider diving a somewhat enjoyable pastime which indeed it is,but 1st and foremost they must have respect for the conditions and the ramifications they maybe subject to.Failiure to act accordingly goes to show that many don't,they are'nt exposed to it in training and they can't deal with it when it happens.
Take Care,Hobby

· Registered
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Yeah I appreciate what your saying Hobby and I do agree entirely about having the requisite skill set for a given environment; my quip about "tying in" etc was probably not the best, or most descriptive thing to convey what I meant here!

I firmly believe in being well-trained to do something and  I wholeheartedly agree with the premise that he without the requisite skills should not be down there, its just that THAT particular situation seems to be to be like danger and task-loading to the Nth degree.  It was a set of circumstances, all piled in together that would surely make even the most well-trained diver shite themselves?  I'm not saying that no-one else would have been capable of doing what they did, nor that no-one else could have gotten out of it, but do you not agree that the level of training needed to get Gavin out of there suprasses that which a recreational OW scuba diver might reasonably be expected to possess?  

Perhaps if one were a regular wreck-penetrator or such like then I could agree, but if not it seems unlikey that an open water diver could expect to have anything much more serious to deal with than a shut-down/emergency air supply switch or an entanglement hazard ?  Of course if you dive mixed gases then you could add things such as changing dec obligations etc (I am deliberately skirting the specifics here as I know there is more to it than this!).  To be honest I doubt I'd ever have gotten into the water if I had had to train to that level just to get wet!

I know this may be a somewhat naive point of view, and I betray the fact that I'm an inexperienced diver, but do you really think an OW diver should have that much training?

· Resident Serbian Sniper
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I don't think it's naive at all mate,I think it's very realistic  
As you say,many new divers(I'll say 'now' too but that's also controversial).
IMHO,no an OW diver should'nt have that much training/won't have that experience,and you're right,it does'nt matter who was in that situation,if they claimed they were'nt scared I'd suggest they were lying.
What I was getting at is that many peoples (divers)reactions to what they may encounter is'nt what you'd really expect.On a wider issue I think this is part in due to the rec diving industry as whole and its' underlying philosophies re.training.Consider,how many people who decide to learn to dive are exposed to such incidents at grass roots level.I use this as an example as very few rec agencies actually let an instructor simultaneously inflict a mask removal,OOA and inversion on their students,at whatever level.There are people out there who do realistic training,but in the bigger picture(certainly at rec.level)they're the exception to the rule.Instructors do not(well they might  
)do this to discourage/frighten students or put them off.They do it to expose the student to the fact that things go downhill quickly,usually one thing leads to another...incident pit.Now by experiencing this in a controlled situation you still experience some fear,stress etc.You learn to function with it,you learn that you can do it..hopefully.If you can't,you and your instructor etc do it again,and again and all the time your confidence and abilities will grow.
Now look at it this way,DIR etc.is becoming very popular.One of the reasons is that people look at incidents like the above and the training that goes with it.They recognise that the training etc applies to diving as a whole whether they go in caves or not.Perhaps they see some of the deficiencies in their own training,and they receive realistic training and experiences.As said above,that incident is used in training,it's real,divers tragically lost their lives there and (I've said it before)it is criminal and an insult to their memory if we fail to learn from such incidents.
And,Ralphy,you've identified the biggest lesson divers usually never get taught,you can have the best buddy,the best gear,expensive training,whatever,but when the crunch comes it is YOU that needs to function to utilise it all.Training such as DIR etc(thee are others!)will develop that self sufficiency above all else.Hence your comments such as maintaining a disciplined and well drilled approach,mindset,attitude etc.
Take care,Hobby.

· Registered
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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]If someone brought this up a while back then you'll have to forgive me as I only read it last night after following some links from a site
Yes, Ammers did a while back - apologies if you've not seen it. Turned into the usual firebombing, ask Andy (Dales) as even he was appalled

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Sorry it offended you mate, I wrongly assumed I was adding content to my favourite website
Think you can offen me THAT easily? AS for refraining? Nah, I accepted my limitations and acknowledge them - if you are concerned as a buddy then let me know. Rather that than.......

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]You are the least stereotypical person that I've ever met Drift, infact 'unique' is a term that could be used
Thanks, I think  
 Well, I've never been bent and only on O2 once after bouncing from 10m. Never surfaced with less than 50bar, run a pony on all dives, carry a blob, keep close to my buddies and dive within my limits..... So why not safe?

· Registered
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Good points guys and not a lot I can add other than to reiterate that advanced diving i.e. cave/wreck/decompression etc does certainly require an extra level in not only the training and commitment but most importantly a certain 'mindset' that probably can only ever be achieved by reaching a level of training where you are confidant in your own abilities to react to all situations within that particular environment..

As far as Gavin and Turner were concerned these guys were assaulted with a freak event for which no kit configuration or level of training could ever account for, yet as has been said the way they didn't give up on life was awe inspiring. I personally think I'd of just curled up and cried for momma..

· Creature of the night
14,153 Posts
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to preserve life a person is capable of great feats and until you are in such an awful predicament no could say what they would do for sure, also if you get the chance read "the last dive" there are reports of incidents in there that make you shudder.

Safe diving,

· Creature of the night
14,153 Posts
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Thats the one.

Safe diving,

· Resident Serbian Sniper
480 Posts
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Driftwood @ Mar. 20 2003,14:57)]Never surfaced with less than 50bar, So why not safe?
Christ I've surfaced on fumes on several occasions!

I never could get into the "Last Dive",written from a typically American perspective,I found it like chewing gum for the eyes,which is a shame as it's an incident worth studying.If you want a good read(it may give you nightmares
)try "Noddy goes..." no sorry,"The Frogmen" by Tom Waldron and James Gleeson.Grass roots diving.
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