Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Is Scuba More Deadly for Divers in Their 50s?

That's the question this article answers in the affirmative.

Aviva Diodato, a visitor from Arizona, was on a dive trip out of Islamorada two weeks ago when things went horribly wrong.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Diodato asked for assistance during her group's first dive of the day and surfaced early. She made it safely to the stern of the dive boat and was removing her gear when she started to drift. By the time Diodato was located 15 to 20 minutes later, she was no longer breathing and her heart had stopped. Paramedics pronounced her dead upon reaching shore.

Diodato, who was 51, was the third diving fatality in the Florida Keys this year. And like her, the two other victims, Carol Strickland of Tallahassee and Thomas Pickett from Texas, were in their 50s.

In fact, Monroe County Medical Examiner's records dating back to September 2008, the time frame for which the office has reports logged on computer files, show that 10 of the 16 divers who perished were at least 50 years old. Both snorkelers who died during that period were also at least 50.

In addition, a Free Press review of articles and Sheriff's Office reports on Keys dive deaths for the eight months between November 2008 and the last days of 2007 show that four of eight divers who died were at least 50 as were both of the snorkelers who perished.

It's a small sample, but disturbing nonetheless. However, in this age of shock and awe journalism, give the article author credit for doing his due diligence and bringing some context to the numbers.

Some dive shop owners say the reason that many of the diving fatalities in the Keys occur among older clientele is simple demographics of who's putting on a scuba tank these days.

Middle-aged people are the ones who can afford the cost of a dive charter -- which can run up to $200 a day when factoring in equipment, said Connie Boykin, manager of Ocean Divers in Key Largo.

"You have to take in the factor of cost. Consensus with us is that [our customers] are in their 50s," she said.

There's more from where that came.

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Anonymous said...

Aviva Diodato was in great shape. She went to the gym regularly and didnt look or act like a "typical" 50 year old. I agree with the reasoning that "older people" can afford this kind of sport and that is why there is more 50 year old deaths. Nothing to do with their health. At 50 , a person can still be in good shape and still have good reflexes.

Neutral Dive Gear said...

Tanks for posting, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Sure Neutral! Hate it when people talk about age when it has to do with something going wrong like this article. There are PLENTY of people over 50 in GREAT shape them to others in their 20's that let themselves go?
Aviva was my great friend and she is really missed. I was shocked when I first found out her age ten years ago. She was a beautiful woman and full of life, her life was tragically ended WAY too early but it happened when she was doing something she loved. Her autopsy proved this statement , it stated she was in excellent health. People should quit judging by age.