Saturday, March 29, 2008

Safety Checks: Every Diver. Every Time.

This tragic scuba diving story highlights the responsibility of each diver to ensure proper equipment safety checks have been conducted.

Every diver. Every dive.

Inadequate safety checks led to the death of a 22-year-old diver off the Swanage coast, an inquest heard.

Tragedy struck in August 2005 while electrician Mark Steel from Daventry, Northamptonshire, was exploring the wreck of the First World War liner the Kyarra.

A major search operation was launched but Mr Steel's remains were not found until August 8 last year.


Northampton solicitor Michael Chapman, who was diving with Mr Steel, recalled how he had lost sight of his buddy' on the seabed.

He said: "Because of the poor visibility I was only mildly surprised and didn't think that anything untoward had happened."

Mr Chapman added: "Only visual checks were done of our equipment; not full hands-on checks.

"It was the first time I had dived with Mark but he seemed very relaxed. I felt perfectly safe and confident."

Michael Marsh, who was the skipper of the dive boat Killer Prawn,' told the inquest how he had seen Mr Steel surfacing.

"I turned the boat, I was about five to eight feet from him and we made eye contact. There was no sense of panic.

"He rolled onto his back and went under. I looked over the side and he was gone."

A post mortem showed that Mr Steel had inhaled water and drowned.

The hearing was told an examination of Mr Steel's diving gear had revealed that the isolation valve between his two cylinders had not been turned on and he had run out of air.

From all of us here at the Neutral Dive Gear Scuba Diving Blog, please be diligent with your safety checks.

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