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Why do divers and freedivers drown

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Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2004
I have often wondered why experienced scuba divers and freedivers drown/die
For me as being self taught, but I do not go down far these days how a mer mortal like me has a chance of surviving, I take all the necessary safety equipment I even have a Co2 lifejacket/snorkell vest just in case I get tired, the only time I feel unsafe is when I go alone or I don't have my kayak with me a 2 foot torpedo float is OK but a 12 foot kayak can be seen a long way off, so why do experienced scuba divers and freedivers drown/die do these die for over stepping there limit or what.
we drown because we are not mermortals...

only kidding..

freedivers drown because we black out or samba without someone to hold our head out of the water

scuba divers drown because we get cocky and stop taking all the safety precautions we used to as a beginner.. perhaps.

and for many other reasons no doubt

keeping it simple

I have been thinking about the same thing.

Like Sam says - They die for a number of reasons.

What is frustrating is why they die. Often the facts are few and/or unclear. Sometimes it is a complete mystery. The very nature of the activity does of course make it hard to produce good documentation of fatal misshaps. Even more frustarting, however, is the fact that even very experienced divers seem to die just like that. That is when you really start to wonder.

I think it all boils down to the "El Diablo" phenomenon. The "El Diablo" phenomenon is what happens when a person shoots themselves with a gun that they know was not loaded. When I was freediving the other day stupidly with a dry snorkel, I accidentally inhaled some of the air as the snorkel compressed while trying to remove it from my mouth at a depth of 10 meters because it was becoming uncomfortable. As I ascended I suddenly had the urge to cough which I later realized was due to lung stretching. I am still kind of sore. In my opinion if it is possible to get an injury like that at a mere 10 meters, then the number of things that can go wrong in a dive are inconceivable. I occasionally find myself actually forgetting to equalize... What would that do to a person who had weak eardrums? For me my ear just become congested and I have to stop diving for the day, but for someone prone to eardrum ruptures, they would suddenly find themselves disoriented at some random depth. For those that dive very deep, I beleive merely opening your glottis on ascent could burst one's ear drums. At 40 meters with no fins, I am sure that could prove fatal. I guess it's all about good habits, good training, and the common sense and control not to dive when you feel bad.
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Reactions: Tommy Engfors
Well said Jason.

I can tell what happens to a person who forgets to equalize. I blew my right eardrum at 5 meters. It was very easy. I just pinched, blew and that was it. Luckily only a tiny amount of water entered my ear. I did not experience any vertigo.

It's hard to refute the value of good habits and training like you say.
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