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Police investigate Swedish diver death at Similans

PHUKET: Police investigating the death of a Swedish woman during a dive tour at the Similan Islands on Monday (Nov 7) are waiting for doctors to confirm the cause of death before drawing any conclusions in their investigation.

tourism, marine, death, police,


Tanyaluk Sakoot

Thursday 10 November 2016, 09:52AM


The woman was diving at the Similan Islands when dive tour staff discovered that she was unconscious. Photo: Mathias Krumbholz
The woman was diving at the Similan Islands when dive tour staff discovered that she was unconscious. Photo: Mathias Krumbholz

The woman, Kim Lien Pettersson, 57, was on a dive tour with about 30 other tourists, including her husband, when the incident happened, said Pol Lt Col Korkiat Boonplod of Khuraburi Police Station.

“Ms Pettersson came with her husband by tour company and stayed overnight on the boat,” Col Korkiat said.

“Her husband was an experienced diver,” he noted.

“They were at a depth of 25 meters when staff noticed that she was not moving, and then found that she was unconscious,” Col Korkiat said.

“They brought her to the surface, but had to wait at a depth of four to five meters before they could bring her out of the water.

“The dive staff tried to revive her, but she was gone,” he said.

Ms Pettersson’s body was sent to Khuraburichaipat Hospital to determine the cause of death,” he added.

“I have informed the Swedish Embassy already.”

Col Korkiat declined to draw any conclusions about the Swedish woman’s death.

“I want to find out what caused the Swedish woman’s death, but the hospital report may take two to three weeks. I can’t make any presumptions now,” he said.

“I have already questioned witnesses and collected information about this case, and all details have been handed over to the Khuraburi Police Chief to decide what charges, if any, might be brought against the company,” he added.

 

 

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Asterix | 11 November 2016 - 11:37:16

TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and police have an annoying attitude to blame negatively all professional tour boat operators and dive businesses in tourism in case of accident without waiting a full investigation of what had been happened exactly.

Death and injury in diving, snorkelling or swimming or even boats sinking is happenning from unespected events during trips all around the world.

Some accidents may be avoided but some may be from the mistake of professionals and many others may be from mistakes done by tourists who think that they have paid a service and the Tour Guide or Divemaster has to protect them for whatsoever for all unforeseen circumstances or bad behaviors of the tourists which is unacceptable.

Divers dive in buddy teams and the divemaster is there to conduct the dive but the most important for safety is that the divers must follow the dive training rules and dive plan.

In all cases of dive problems and accidents, all certified divers got the proper training in dive safety and emergency procedures but many divers never want to plan check-out dives and refresher dives to be up in recreational dive techniques.

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Kurt | 10 November 2016 - 15:58:34

CaptainJack69. You wrote a great comment.
One thing I like to add, that is that a woman's body is different from a man's body.

In the past, foreign dive companies were very careful with aircompressor dive tank filling.
Since there are more thai dive companies now, well, possible the mai pen rai attitude plays a role about maintenance of air compressors.
Which thai authority checks on that anyway?
Same as with bus-, boat-, and Van drivers. Yes?
Women are more vulnerable to dirty dive tank air than men.
So, that can explain why she got unconscious and not the men.

Problem is: Hard to find out with a autopsy in order to sue the dive company and/or make criminal charges.

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CaptainJack69 | 10 November 2016 - 12:43:52

Modern diving is very safe, there are very few specifically diving related issues that can cause unconsciousness during a dive.  One is dirty air that hasn't been filtered properly (when was the compressors' filter last changed?) another is carbon-monoxide in the air (staff smoking near the intake? intake too close to engine exhaust?). But these issues would affect all divers whose tanks were filled by that compressor.  

It's surprisingly difficult to actually breath in water and drown while diving, obviously water in the lungs would indicate this.

Otherwise the examiners need to be looking for prevailing medical conditions (the diver should have filled out a medical form before diving).

Now, the article states that they divers had to wait at 5 meters before surfacing. Why? This is called a "safety stop" and is done during normal dive procedure for additional safety. It is NOT mandatory and can be omitted in an emergency. Dive professionals should know this. Even if the diver had exceeded her no decompression limits (never allowed on Similans dive trips) then the dive staff should have brought her straight up anyway and put her on oxygen immediately once they saw she was unconscious. Being unconscious underwater is one of the only ways to drown without some external interference.

You can be sure that the international diving regulator responsible for the dive professionals here (not a Thai entity) will be investigating this incident, and if they are found to have been negligent they will loose their licenses.

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Kurt | 10 November 2016 - 11:07:58

Hope that they check the filter system of the air compressor used to fill the dive air tanks.
'Dirty air' in the dive tanks can coz unconsciousness. 

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