Friday, May 19, 2017

May 18, 2017 | ANOTHER DIVER ON A REBREATHER DIES | "Devon diver died after plummeting 60 metres to the ocean floor without his breathing apparatus on"


May 18, 2017, at:

"Devon diver died after plummeting 60 metres to the ocean floor without his breathing apparatus on"

"Commenting on what might have happened, Mr Culwick said his opinion, given Mr Ring's "confusion" on the surface and his inability to clip his equipment on, was that he had a "significant medical event or succumbed to carbon dioxide poisoning"


I've know about rebreathers since I started my technical dive training. However, in my opinion, most divers are not ready to use them. To give an analogy, most fighter jets can out perform the pilot. Human physiology is such that our physical and mental limitation result in too many stressors are placed on the mind and body.

I believe the technology is fantastic, however, people make mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes a diver can make is diving beyond the scope of their training. While a preponderance of rebreather divers are trained on the machine they use, any deviation from the way it should be used can result in injury or death. 

For me, having a machine that requires that much work seems contrary to the benefits of using one. My deepest dive on the USS Monitor to 241fsw was on open circuit. While there were divers that completed their dives on closed circuit systems, the initial costs, training, ongoing utilization, and maintenance just seem to be greater than the benefit a rebreather could really benefit me for the amount of deep water dives with extended decompression obligations.

The abstract below claims that rebreather deaths may be as high as 1 in 100 users. 1% is a crazy high number. Recreational scuba diver deaths are far, far lower. 

"Rebreather deaths occurred at about 10 times the rate of deaths amongst open-circuit recreational scuba divers."

"Closed-circuit rebreathers have a 25-fold increased risk of component failure compared to a manifolded twin-cylinder open-circuit system."


Format: AbstractSend to Diving Hyperb Med. 2013 Jun;43(2):78-85.
Analysis of recreational closed-circuit rebreather deaths 1998-2010.

Department of Intensive Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, The Alfred Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


Since the introduction of recreational closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs) in 1998, there have been many recorded deaths. Rebreather deaths have been quoted to be as high as 1 in 100 users.

Rebreather fatalities between 1998 and 2010 were extracted from the Deeplife rebreather mortality database, and inaccuracies were corrected where known. Rebreather absolute numbers were derived from industry discussions and training agency statistics. Relative numbers and brands were extracted from the Rebreather World website database and a Dutch rebreather survey. Mortality was compared with data from other databases. A fault-tree analysis of rebreathers was compared to that of open-circuit scuba of various configurations. Finally, a risk analysis was applied to the mortality database.

The 181 recorded recreational rebreather deaths occurred at about 10 times the rate of deaths amongst open-circuit recreational scuba divers. No particular brand or type of rebreather was over-represented. Closed-circuit rebreathers have a 25-fold increased risk of component failure compared to a manifolded twin-cylinder open-circuit system. This risk can be offset by carrying a redundant 'bailout' system. Two-thirds of fatal dives were associated with a high-risk dive or high-risk behaviour. There are multiple points in the human-machine interface (HMI) during the use of rebreathers that can result in errors that may lead to a fatality.

While rebreathers have an intrinsically higher risk of mechanical failure as a result of their complexity, this can be offset by good design incorporating redundancy and by carrying adequate 'bailout' or alternative gas sources for decompression in the event of a failure. Designs that minimize the chances of HMI errors and training that highlights this area may help to minimize fatalities.

deaths; diving accidents; rebreathers/closed circuit; safety; technical diving

PMID: 23813461

[Indexed for MEDLINE]


Fatality rates of 16.4 deaths per 100,000 persons per year among DAN America members and 14.4 deaths per 100,000 persons per year the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) members were similar and did not change during 2000-2006. This is comparable with jogging (13 deaths per 100,000 persons per year) and motor vehicle accidents (16 deaths per 100,000 persons per year), and within the range where reduction is desirable by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) criteria,[3]

Data for 17 million student-diver certifications during 63 million student dives over a 20-year period from 1989-2008 show a mean per capita death rate of 1.7 deaths per 100,000 student divers per year. This was lower than for insured DAN members during 2000-2006 at 16.4 deaths per 100,000 DAN members per year, but fatality rate per dive is a better measure of exposure risk, A mean annual fatality rate of 0.48 deaths per 100,000 student dives per year and 0.54 deaths per 100,000 BSAC dives per year and 1.03 deaths per 100,000 non-BSAC dives per year during 2007. The total size of the diving population is important for determining overall fatality rates, and the population estimates from the 1990s of several million U.S. divers need to be updated.[3]


various articles and information on diving fatalities and training issues

DAN: Divers Alert Network, Recreational Diving Fatalities, Workshop proceedings, April 8-10, 2010, Richard D. Vann, Ph.D., at:

For an analysis of why divers die, please read: "Why Divers Die," Chapter 34 of Diving Medicine for SCUBA Divers at 

Additionally, one may choose to look into the "Human Factors of Diving" at:

"Human Factors in Diving Accidents in Pools" at:

Dive Training Magazine: July 2012, Editorials: Addressing the Issue of Diver Competence, Text by Alex Brylske, at:

Diver Magazine: January 21, 2014, Dive Training Today: A Perspective, An industry and training veteran says a poorly trained diver is a dropout statistic waiting to happen. Are you one of them? Do you agree?, Text by Bret Gilliam, at:


Here are some results from a web search for "diver dies rebreather"


#scuba #rebreather #scubadeaths #scubainjuries #rebreatherdeaths #rebreatherinjuries #trainingstandards

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