Eighth diver dies: Police give advice on how to surface safely

Police and ambulance officers on the foreshore where they recovered the body of a 37-year-old diver at Island Bay in Wellington yesterday. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police and ambulance officers on the foreshore where they recovered the body of a 37-year-old diver at Island Bay in Wellington yesterday. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Police are warning divers to exercise extreme caution following the eighth fatal dive accident since Christmas.

A 37-year-old woman died yesterday at Island Bay after a 45-minute dive with her husband off Wellington's south coast.

It was the fourth fatal diving accident in Wellington waters. On December 12, a 45-year-old man was found by a fellow diver near Red Rocks. Eight days later Willie Collins, cousin of late All Black Jerry Collins, died when scuba diving in Lyall Bay, and a woman also died when she was diving in Owhiro Bay on January 26.

Meanwhile, Igor Petrenko, 31 and Gena Sibaev, 55, died off Great Barrier Island while freediving. Their bodies were recovered yesterday .

"The Police Dive Squad urge divers, of all experience levels and abilities, to exercise extreme caution and remember the basic safety principals," Sergeant Bruce Adams said.

"With a long stretch of fine weather, more divers have returned to the water, but regardless of whether your last dive was last year or last week we must all remember the basic diving safety principles to make sure we surface safely at the end of the dive."

Staying safe while diving

• Stick within your own ability
• If you have been out of the sport for some time, dive infrequently, or only complete several dives in summer, have a refresher course and join a dive club.
• If you're not familiar with your equipment, get advice from a training establishment and/or equipment supplier.
• Check your equipment, ensure it is serviced each year and faults are fixed.
• Complete pre-dive checks of your equipment and of your dive buddy's .
• Monitor the weather conditions, put off diving if any doubt exists.
• Always dive with a buddy and stay together at all times.
• Constantly monitor your cylinder contents and that of your dive buddy during the dive.
• End the dive with plenty of air supply to safely return to shore, retain at least 50Bar/500Psi.
• Have a specific dive medical when you enter the sport, when your health changes, and again when in your 40s.
• Seek advice about any medication you are prescribed if diving.
• Do not attach catch-bags to your person, keep them in hand and drop them at the first outset of trouble.
• Have a plan and discuss what you will do if you encounter trouble, suffer an injury or become separated from your dive buddy. End the dive.
• Complete a buoyancy check at the start of the dive on the surface and remove excess weight.
- Source: NZ Police

- NZ Herald

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