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NWFlyer

Analysis of Scuba Fatality - Familiar Themes to Skydivers

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In the world of scuba, I'm a rank noob, so I have pretty limited perspective to evaluate the technical details of this analysis. However, the psychological parts absolutely ring true and familiar to the sort of fatal hubris we see in our sport.

http://scubatechphilippines.com/scuba_blog/guy-garman-world-depth-record-fatal-dive/#A_Fatal_Attempt_Dr_Guy_Garman8217s_World_Depth_Record_2015
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I have been a deep technical diver for years. The parallel between people getting into freefall and to skydiving are amazing.

Noobs who want to progress without experience.

Guys that have experience that cut cornors to get advanced more quickly.

Folks that think they are the exception to the rule...
Propblast

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Hi there :)I got that from Tom Brown many years ago, and still like it...

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Excellent article! Same pattern manifests in flying. Unfortunately, the ones who need this advice most are usually the least likely to accept it.

Hope you save some of our brethren from proving, once again, that Darwin was right in his speculation as to why some family trees end prematurely. (Boston driving takes this to a whole new level.)

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Thanks for posting. Good article.

Also a familiar theme in aircraft accident analysis. One thing not mentioned in comments is the fact that the victim discussed in the article was a Doctor. It has been a long-recognized fact in aviation that Doctors often overestimate their prowess in other activities. Certainly, this is not limited to this profession, but there have been enough instances for it to stand out. Clearly, there are plenty who excel - Topdocker is one of the most proficient and wise skydivers I know. He is also a medical professional.

My point is that some folks who are fine thinkers and doers in life sometimes take on other activities and think their Mad Skilz will make it simple. Some activities have an error margin such that it may be too late by the time they realize they have overextended themselves.

To tie in to current events, it may be that the recent accident at the Chicago airshow resulted in a misestimation of skills. Clearly, working as a Combat Infantryman or a SEAL demands supreme brains and skills in many areas. I don't think that big urban demos and precision RW are among those skills.

Kevin K.
_____________________________________
Dude, you are so awesome...
Can I be on your ash jump ?

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Hmmm...well let's see.
Target depth of dive: 1200 feet
Ambient pressure at 1200 feet: 36.4 atmospheres or 535.1 psi.

So, at target depth, the diver has over a quarter of a ton of pressure on the body. Of course so does the equipment and the equipment will compress. Compressibility dependent upon material. A fitting too loose or excessively tightened or a metal/o-ring seal improperly sealed etc etc.

The victim was a physician who clearly know the physiology and the physics.

Despite experience and "ratings" gained over a four year period, this guy had no business attempting this dive. IMHO/ experience of 45 years of SCUBA diving myself; very bad decision thinking about it, executing it and of course, the results are what they are.

The lessons for skydivers?
There are some challenges that are over the "limit line" not even the "experienced" should attempt...unless they're willing to accept the consequences.

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Boomerdog



The victim was a physician who clearly know the physiology and the physics.



from what I've been reading on the scuba boards, it seems that physiology does some really weird stuff at those extreme depths.
I think it's fair to say he probably thought he knew the physiology and physics but may well have been bitten by assuming he knew more than he did.

That's a familiar lesson to us.

The other one that rings true is that all the book-learning in the world isn't a substitute for actual, physical experience. [:/]

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kkeenan


My point is that some folks who are fine thinkers and doers in life sometimes take on other activities and think their Mad Skilz will make it simple. Some activities have an error margin such that it may be too late by the time they realize they have overextended themselves.



Thanks Kevin!

Wise because I will walk away from a dirt dive, a plane loading, or ride the plane down. When it feels wrong it's probably gonna go wrong. If you are truly brave, you stand in the face of others when you feel they are risking your life, their life, and the lives of others unnecessarily.

top
Jump more, post less!

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Boomerdog

Hmmm...well let's see.


The victim was a physician who clearly know the physiology and the physics.



Physiology maybe - physics not so sure. I know a bunch of physicians (my wife is an MD) and almost without exception they say that physics was a mystery to them and they only got through it by virtue of being good at memorization.

(Obviously there are exceptions).
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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Yea, you're probably right.
I would think that even with the fundamental knowledge of 1 atm increase every 33 feet then multiplying by 14.7 psi/atm, this guy would have made the intuitive conclusion that over a quarter of a ton of pressure on his body even though equally distributed would be enough to deter him. Then there is the gas demand delivery mechanism, it fails or does not deliver at ambient pressure and the problems mount.

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Quote

Hmmm...well let's see.
Target depth of dive: 1200 feet
Ambient pressure at 1200 feet: 36.4 atmospheres or 535.1 psi.

So, at target depth, the diver has over a quarter of a ton of pressure on the body. ......
.....There are some challenges that are over the "limit line" not even the "experienced" should attempt...



So... I have to admit that I am failing to see your point regarding feasibility of the attempt (scuba diving to 365.76 meters or 1200 feet).

Current world record for the technical dive seems to be set at 332 meters (or 1,089 ft) which is not light years away from the attempted depth https://www.deeperblue.com/ahmed-gabr-breaks-scuba-diving-world-record/.

I do agree, however that we should test our limits wisely and with a sufficient amount of experienceB|.
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

Stephen Hawking

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>Current world record for the technical dive seems to be set at 332 meters (or
>1,089 ft) which is not light years away from the attempted depth
>https://www.deeperblue.com/...diving-world-record/.

Indeed, saturation divers have gone deeper than 1700 feet - so from a pure pressure perspective it's not out of the question. Needless to say, it was a bad idea for a great many other reasons.

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For the thread:
Although the dive target depth of 1200' wasn't a huge amount above the world record of 1089', the diver's own prior deepest dive was 800'.

That's a huge 50% leap in one single dive, in an environment that is very demanding physically, where individual reactions and tolerance may vary. Other divers criticized him for that massive jump in attempted depth.

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Where did I question feasibility? I'm just putting some raw data out there but first I must correct and an initial error. The total pressure is actually 37.4 atm or 549.8 psi adding the necessary 1 atm (14.7 psi) initial surface pressure.

Bottom line: It's a very very dangerous dive even with the best technology (and it has to work flawlessly at that depth) and diver training/experience.

Did the deceased have the necessary experience? Perhaps. Was there any equipment malfunction? We won't know unless we recover a body with the assumption equipment is still attached and not crushed to prevent examination.

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NWFlyer

In the world of scuba, I'm a rank noob, so I have pretty limited perspective to evaluate the technical details of this analysis. However, the psychological parts absolutely ring true and familiar to the sort of fatal hubris we see in our sport.



I fail to see people dying seeking solo world records in skydiving and how this (the article) compares to regular Joe skydiving.
Take care,
space

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base283

***In the world of scuba, I'm a rank noob, so I have pretty limited perspective to evaluate the technical details of this analysis. However, the psychological parts absolutely ring true and familiar to the sort of fatal hubris we see in our sport.



I fail to see people dying seeking solo world records in skydiving and how this (the article) compares to regular Joe skydiving.
Take care,
space


You haven't seen over-confidence and the seeking of positive reinforcement in poor decision making as a problem in our sport?

:S

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>I fail to see people dying seeking solo world records in skydiving and how this
>(the article) compares to regular Joe skydiving.

Many regular Joe skydivers think they are special, that the rules do not apply to them. Video cameras at 20 jumps? Well, I know that's not recommended, but I am a very heads-up skydiver who uses a Gopro on my motorcycle so I won't be distracted. Wingsuiting at 100? I'm an exception - my instructors all said I did better than average, so I should be able to start on them sooner than average. Getting that Velocity after 400 jumps? I almost always stand up my landings, so I'm ahead of the curve, and I am always "ahead of the canopy" on my Safire so I'll be fine. Besides, I'm doing much better than my friends, and they say I'm a natural.

A lot of the themes expressed in the article pop up in skydiving regularly - the inability to listen to and heed cautions from others, a "self-reinforcing" sense of superiority, an ego that was supported by a small number of successful dives, the normalization of deviance that comes from getting away with bad decisions a small (or even moderate) number of times, and the pervasiveness of groupthink.

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Boomerdog

Hmmm...well let's see.
Target depth of dive: 1200 feet
Ambient pressure at 1200 feet: 36.4 atmospheres or 535.1 psi.

So, at target depth, the diver has over a quarter of a ton of pressure on the body. Of course so does the equipment and the equipment will compress. Compressibility dependent upon material. A fitting too loose or excessively tightened or a metal/o-ring seal improperly sealed etc etc.

The victim was a physician who clearly know the physiology and the physics.

Despite experience and "ratings" gained over a four year period, this guy had no business attempting this dive. IMHO/ experience of 45 years of SCUBA diving myself; very bad decision thinking about it, executing it and of course, the results are what they are.

The lessons for skydivers?
There are some challenges that are over the "limit line" not even the "experienced" should attempt...unless they're willing to accept the consequences.



pUSsIe BIg!

:|
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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I completely agree with you. Physicians are generally far away from being physicists. But physics aspect in scuba diving is absolutely necessary, since water is really a foreign media for the human being. Same for very high altitude jumping where pressure, temperature, terminal speed...are way different than ordinary altitude jumping. I would add that for scuba and jumping in general, one needs to get knowledgeable in basic mechanics or mechanics curious at least. If you are not mechanically oriented, maybe you should stay away from sports where the mechanical aspect is important. The technical (mechanical) aspect of some sport is obvious. Mountain climbing, car or motorcycle racing, skydiving, flying airplanes, hot air ballons, gliders...scuba diving...are all sports with a very high level of technicity. Doing those sports involves that you know : your equipment, its performance, its limits, how to use it, how to maintain it and what to do in case of emergency.
About skydivers, how many have assisted at least once to their reserve packing by a rigger ? Very few indeed. Most of the time, people bring me their equipment still completely packed for reserve packing purpose. That says it all. My reaction is always the same, I tell them that next time they should pop their reserve and know the sensation of the pull force needed.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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erdnarob

My reaction is always the same, I tell them that next time they should pop their reserve and know the sensation of the pull force needed.

After a dozen+ reserve rides and numerous repacks, I'm pretty good at pulling those handles. Now, when repack time rolls around, I find a jumper working on his or her A license, put my rig on them and let them chop and pull the reserve for real. B|

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