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Provisional report on diving-related fatalities in Australian waters 2010

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Version 2 2024-06-06, 05:19
Version 1 2017-01-18, 11:56
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 05:19 authored by J Lippmann, C Lawrence, A Fock, T Wodak, S Jamieson, R Harris, D Walker
INTRODUCTION: An individual case review was conducted of known diving-related deaths that occurred in Australia in 2010. METHOD: The case studies were compiled using statements from witnesses and reports of the police and coroners. In each case, the particular circumstances of the accident and details from the post-mortem examination, where available, are provided. A root cause analysis was made for each case. RESULTS: There were 20 reported fatalities, one less than the previous year. Five of the victims were female (four scuba divers) and 15 were males. Twelve deaths occurred while snorkelling and/or breath-hold diving, seven while scuba diving (one of whom was using a rebreather), and one diver died while using surface supplied breathing apparatus. At least two breath-hold divers likely drowned as a result of apnoeic hypoxia. Cardiac-related issues were thought to have contributed to the deaths of at least three and possibly five snorkellers, and of at least one, possibly two compressed gas divers. CONCLUSIONS: Snorkelling or diving alone, poor supervision, apnoeic hypoxia, pre-existing medical conditions, lack of recent experience and unfamiliar and/or poorly-functioning equipment were features in several deaths in this series. Reducing delays to CT-scanning and autopsy and coroners' reports documenting that the victim of a drowning was snorkelling or scuba diving at the time are aspects of the investigation of these fatalities that could be improved.

History

Journal

Diving and hyperbaric medicine

Volume

45

Pagination

154-175

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

Open access

  • Yes

ISSN

1833-3516

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, John Lippmann

Issue

3

Publisher

South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society