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Old 10-14-2019, 12:29 AM   #1
Bob Ballew
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Anatomy of Free Diver Death

...Ryan Huff had all the attributes of a safe diver. Yet, Huff, age 40, was claimed by the ocean on opening day of lobster season. He was in excellent shape, had four years of free diving experience and owned a boat. He was FII (Freediving Instructors International) certified and was very safety oriented...
...He and two companions were diving a cove just north of Thousand Steps in Laguna and had a good catch of lobster. Huff advised his companions he was going to try for some sheepshead he had seen earlier. Vis was limited and conditions were marginal. Shortly, his companions heard his gun go off. When he didn't surface, they searched for him and quickly found him on the bottom at 25', tangled in his gun line. He was unconscious and his shaft was stuck in the rocks. A later examination of his dive watch indicated he had made it to within four feet of the surface, when he dropped down again.
...It is all theory now, until the Orange County Coroner completes his investigation, but, it appears he was a victim of shallow water blackout.
...Many of us in the diving community donated to the GoFundMe account to raise money to help his wife, Dianne, and two sons, ages 3 and 7. Thanks to Fernando's post and other supporters, about $26,000 has been raised so far. At least, the financial assistance will give her some breathing room and currently, she can focus on the well being of the children.
...Perhaps, she summed it up best when she stated, "No matter what your skill level, it can happen to anyone"..."The ocean doesn't spare anyone; no matter how safe you are, even for all the invincible guys out there-it can happen..."
...Source: Erika Ritchie, reporter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper

Last edited by Bob Ballew; 10-14-2019 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:33 AM   #2
nilsonov
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Bob how long was he down for when he went up to 4' of the surface?
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

According to the interview with his friends; when he didn't surface after a minute, they started searching for him. Unknown how long it took to find him, but, it was fairly quick for the conditions they were diving under...
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:14 PM   #4
Justice Jonez
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Heartbreaking account of what occured. I can't imagine the hurt his loved ones feel. Rest In Peace brother. And to all spearos, dive safe out there.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:01 PM   #5
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

It seems that anyone within 4 feet of the surface should be positively buoyant at that point. But if his lungs emptied, maybe not... but please, everyone, buy an FRV from Terry Maas.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:07 PM   #6
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Star View Post
It seems that anyone within 4 feet of the surface should be positively buoyant at that point. But if his lungs emptied, maybe not... but please, everyone, buy an FRV from Terry Maas.
Neither may have helped, he was tangled in his shooting line...RIP
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:07 PM   #7
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

If low on breath when ascending I will take off my weight belt and hold it in one hand so it can be dropped in a fraction of a second. Not saying that would have helped here, just an additional tip that hopefully never has to be used. Dive safe and Rest In Peace Ryan.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:06 PM   #8
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Lets not jump to conclusions here, especially when relatives can be hurt by comments. That is why there are separate memorials and diving safety forums. Diver found wrapped in gun line. Doubtful he had SWB then went back down then wrapped up. Also, SWB poking a sheepie in 20' of water? Doubtful. PFI trained so obviously knew what he was doing. Dive watch as well to monitor bottom time. Lots of surge shallow, vis low, kelp - things happen to anybody.
My suggestion is for whoever posted the original 'lost a diver' post it in the board-wide memorials, and whoever wants to discuss prevention should discuss in diver safety and accidents forums:

http://spearboard.com/forumdisplay.php?f=296

http://spearboard.com/forumdisplay.php?f=65

RIP and condolences.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:34 PM   #9
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

These types of incidents make me very sad for the families and friends.

Perhaps it would help other divers to be safer if some of the details were released?

What type of shooting line was he using? Was he wrapped in reel line or shooting line? What cutting device(s) was he carrying? Did it appear that he attempted to use a cutting device to free himself? Was he diving one up and one down or were the divers working independently? Was he using a floatline, reel or neither?
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:40 PM   #10
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfjf View Post
These types of incidents make me very sad for the families and friends.

Perhaps it would help other divers to be safer if some of the details were released?

What type of shooting line was he using? Was he wrapped in reel line or shooting line? What cutting device(s) was he carrying? Did it appear that he attempted to use a cutting device to free himself? Was he diving one up and one down or were the divers working independently? Was he using a floatline, reel or neither?
EXACTLY why the below forum was created, and it gives worldwide safety guidance vs. just CA:
Diving Safety, Accidents and Incidents (4 Viewing)
Post here to discuss accidents, incidents, ideas, gear, or anything else to improve spearfishing safety. Memorials and condolences threads should be placed in that separate forum.
http://spearboard.com/forumdisplay.php?f=65

Memorials and Condolences for Diver Passings
(5 Viewing)
This forum is intended for Rest in Peace Threads where we as a community offer condolences and memorialize those diver who have passed away. Safety, Accidents and Incidents discussion has a separate forum.
http://spearboard.com/forumdisplay.php?f=296
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:17 PM   #11
Bob Ballew
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Everyone is free to voice an opinion....However, I see nothing wrong with discussing various aspects herein, as I don't go to the other sites and you can see by the number viewing at the other sites, that most others do not also. Since this post area gets the most hits, anything related to dive safety would be beneficial to all and would find the most readers. As long as comments are respectful, I think this location is ideal..
....Unfortunately, most of us learn from mistakes, whether our own or others....Hell, most of mine have been posted because if someone can learn more survival skills from my posts, I don't care if some critic wants to find fault or claim I am senile from holding my breath too long......just one old guy's opinion...
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:51 PM   #12
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

The OC Spearos will be releasing a DETAILED account of events shortly. Hold off on the what ifs until then.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

You gotta be willing to give up your gear it’s that simple in this sport... RIP no fish is worth your life and I feel terrible for his family.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:26 AM   #14
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando8884 View Post
The OC Spearos will be releasing a DETAILED account of events shortly. Hold off on the what ifs until then.
Thanks Fernando. So glad to see this club taking the lead on this. I agree that is the best.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:14 PM   #15
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Re: Anatomy of Free Diver Death

I need to get a new razor sharp dive knife. Something that can cut through 400 lb mono like butter. Any suggestions?

I need to get back to having wire cutters on my belt when using cable shooting line. Used to do this but haven't for the past several trips.
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