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#4035
Death of Ft. Myers Diver
uwlover4u - 6/16/2015 10:43 AM
Category: General
Replies: 12

This has been a big story here for the past few days. Is it me or are there a lot of "whys" left answered.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Officials say they’ve recovered the body of a diver who went missing in the Gulf of Mexico off of the southwest Florida coast.

The News-Press (goo.gl/6FPYhZ) reports that the body of 50-year-old Jerry Francis was recovered on Monday near the Pegasus, a 110-foot former ocean tug sunk to form an artificial reef about 30 miles west of Lee County.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Officer Stuart Spoede says Francis was part of a diving group that went on Saturday afternoon to the nearby USS Mohawk, another sunken artificial reef. Francis surfaced yelling for help at one point and then disappeared under the water.

The Coast Guard conducted a search for about a day before turning efforts over to the FWC.

A medical examiner will determine the cause of death
#3720
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tstormdiver - 6/16/2015 11:36 AM
As with the case of most diving fatalities, there are typically many unanswered questions. The cave diving community used to be very good at analyzing the fatalities & coming up with solutions to reduce those fatalities. Things have changed,.... & the information has dried up.
#1107
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Btrax - 6/16/2015 3:56 PM
I have to agree with both of you. Accident analysis has taken a nosedive, i do not know why. In the military i was with a team that worked accident analysis in order to reduce future accidents - the whole purpose was to REDUCE accidents by finding the why and preventing the next one. As for the weights, well Rich nailed it—Drop em you can get another set, can’t get a new life.
#3720
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tstormdiver - 6/16/2015 4:00 PM
My training agency make me cover it in my OW classes. I teach my students both weight pocket & weight belt removal, ditching & donning.
#8801
Eric_R - 6/17/2015 4:52 AM
Totally agree with Rich but this guy must have already been in panic mode before he hit the surface and lost all sense of procedures. I saved a lady on a dive that was under extreme panic and she never knew who helped her until 1/2 hour later when she became coherent enough to ask. In that situation I didn’t release her weight belt as we were moored on a buoy above a wreck with 15 other divers on the bottom. I think every situation is different but I wonder who was budded up with him and what they saw or experienced.
#16296
LatitudeAdjustment - 6/17/2015 7:41 AM
I think ditching weights is a last ditch thing and they haven’t admitted to themselves that they are that deep in trouble until it’s too late.

In rescue class they teach you to ask the stressed diver to hand you their weights, then you drop them :)

In a 3 mil with a steel tank I only have 4 pounds of lead, I’m not sure dropping them will make that much difference :(
#51576
Greg - 6/17/2015 10:40 AM
Proper weighting is also critical in helping to avoid panicked situations on the surface. If you are way over weighted, you’ll feel like you can’t get positively buoyant while floating on the surface. You’ll use energy to stay afloat by kicking. You’ll max out the flotation of your BC which will cause air pressure to be released from the relief valves. That will freak you out even more which will cause more panic. At some point, training and experience needs to take over and remind you what’s keeping you from floating. Drop your weights, take deep breaths, lay your head back, get low in the water, and relax.
#56
lbrooks - 6/18/2015 4:30 AM
Yep drop the weightbelt. And where was his dive buddy. ..
#4035
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uwlover4u - 6/18/2015 5:39 AM
Kudos to lbrooks for finally asking the question about the dive buddy. And what were the other people on the boat doing when this man called for help? Authorities are still bickering on who should handle the investigation, Coast Guard or Sheriff’s office. And here’s something really weird. Over the weekend local TV stations were reporting that the Coast Guard could not even locate the charter boat. Now you cannot even find the charter boats name online. Is something nefarious going on here?
#128
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Karlaki - 6/18/2015 10:34 AM
I met Jerry a few years ago, but didn’t know him other than that one quick meeting. I never dove with him but knew he was gonzo for diving. I saw a news story today (video) in which his family said they were told his air was turned off. Perhaps there is more to the story, but regardless my first question was why, if he were at the surface calling for help, did he sink again. Ditching weights or establishing buoyancy would have at least resulted in a body at the surface that could be treated and/or resuscitated. It’ll be interesting to see what the investigation turns up.
#65
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cturtle - 7/10/2015 11:55 AM
From Greg: Proper weighting is also critical in helping to avoid panicked situations on the surface. If you are way over weighted, you’ll feel like you can’t get positively buoyant while floating on the surface. You’ll use energy to stay afloat by kicking. You’ll max out the flotation of your BC which will cause air pressure to be released from the relief valves. That will freak you out even more which will cause more panic. At some point, training and experience needs to take over and remind you what’s ke...