Skin and scuba diving fatalities involving US citizens, 1971

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Title: Skin and scuba diving fatalities involving US citizens, 1971
Author: Schenck Jr, H; McAniff, J
Abstract: During 1971 there were 115 fatal accidents involving compressed air, non-military diving by U.S. Citizens, compared with 116 fatal cases in 1970. Sixteen skin divers died in 1971 as against 27 in 1970. New York and Hawaii showed substantial increases in diving deaths with Florida and Washington showing large reductions. Accident distributions by weekday and month were similar for the two years, Saturday and Sunday having almost two-thirds the case totals and the four summer months (May through August) having well over half the case load. The bulk of victims were drawn from the age range, 16 to 30 years. Twenty percent of all scuba victims were on their first dive or first open dive compared to 16% in these categories in 1970. Fifteen novices died undergoing instruction, eight of these in a "regular" or professional program. The bulk of the victims were lost in the water for periods in excess of ten minutes. Resuscitation was attempted in almost all cases where some chance of success existed. The Coast Guard was involved in 36 cases in 1971 compared with 32 in 1970. No major equipment defects emerged from the study with the exception of the small inflatable vests which often failed to inflate or to support the diver properly when they did. Primary causes of accidents are varied, with inexperience and panic, lung over-pressure, and diving in dangerous areas being important problems. Instructor groups, Skindiver Magazine, and some manufacturers believe that 1971 involved more diving activity than did 1970. If this is correct, then it appears that civilian diving was somewhat safer in 1971 than in 1970.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9236
Date: 1972

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  • National Underwater Accident Data Center
    This is a collection of the National Underwater Accident Data Center, University of Rhode Island (URI) annual diving reports. John J. McAniff started collection of diving accident and fatality information in 1970.

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