Incident Report

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Incident Report 2020-05-01T16:26:00+00:00

Navigational error whilst scootering

Incident Date

1907-05-06

Incident Description

Three divers entered the first sump of Plura River Cave. The dive plan was to pass sump one (460m/-34m) using scooters and then continue for a familiarisation dive in sump two with a planned maximim depth of 45m. The dive was done on air. Halfway through sump one there is a line junction but one of the lines (tothe right) is not easily visible from some angles. Visibility was fair but several other teams of divers had dived the same site that day making vis a bit patchy. The lead diver (diver A) failed to spot the line junction and continued on the left hand line by a mistake (it had been intended to take the right line). The other divers followed but after about a further 50m it was clear to the party that a navigational error had been made. A hasty conference underwater decided upon a retreat but only after some handwaving and rather indecisive signals. The junction was regained and as the situation was back under control the orignal dive plan was completed (except that the diver A felt a bit shaken by the experience and elected not to dive sump 2).

Lessons Learned

When scootering at high speed line junctions come and go very fast. A junction which is very obvious from one angle may be hard to see from another. Slow down if visibility is at all doubtful. Patchy visibility is particularly dangerous. The team did not have a clear plan to deal with a navigational error. There is no universal signal forwe are lost. Dont just follow the diver in front!
Factors
Line Management Major
Gas Management Negligible
Equipment Management Negligible
Equipment Failure Negligible
Training Minor
Medical Negligible
Planning Minor
Procedural Error Minor
Cave Environment Negligible
Weather Negligible
Other Factor Negligible