Woman SCUBA Diver Dies off Miami
A “disturbing” accident Sunday left one scuba diver dead and others with many questions about how that could have happened.
Forty-year-old Hua Liu was part of an expedition off Key Biscayne, about three nautical miles off Bill Baggs Cape, on the vessel BigCom Ocean.
There were about 40 divers on board, and all were instructed to stay with their “diving buddy” during the length of the dive, and never to leave him or her alone.
Panic set in when the group realized it was one diver short during a “roll call” when it was time to head back ashore.
Immediately, they began to conduct a search and called the Coast Guard at about 3:30 p.m.
The Coast Guard “immediately took action,” said Commander Darren Caprara, who is the chief of response for Coast Guard sector Miami and was supervising the case. They put out a broadcast, diverted a 45-foot Coast Guard boat that was headed to another location, called air station Miami to get a helicopter, brought in an auxiliary special team that does routine patrols and a 110-foot Coast Guard cover.
Within about 30 minutes of searching, the team on the diving vessel found Liu’s buoyancy control device (BCD), which is used to help a diver float, and tank.
“That’s the point when we became very concerned and more serious,” said Jaclyn Hesse, an experienced diver who was aboard. “It’s difficult to stay afloat without that for a long time.”
In tandem with the Coast Guard, which Hesse estimated arrived about 20 minutes after being called, the divers continued to search for Liu. Two dive masters from the dive vessel were towed from the boat so they could search the ocean floor. (The Coast Guard in Miami does not have divers who perform underwater rescue missions, Caprara said).
When they had been searching for about 40 minutes, a dive master raised her hand to tell the boat to stop. She dived to the bottom and pulled up Liu, who was still wearing her weighted scuba diving belt. “She was blue when they pulled her up,” Hesse said.
The Coast Guard staff then verbally instructed the dive master to pull Liu’s body aboard the diving vessel. Caprara said that is because the diving vessel was lower to the water and closer.
“Whenever you have a person in the water, particularly one who might be injured or hurt, the priority is to get that person safely out of the water and onto a stable platform where you can give medical care,” he said. “The dive vessel had a spacious open back deck and a low-to-the-water platform.”
At that point, the dive masters aboard began to give Liu CPR.
But it was too late.
The whole experience was “terrible,” Hesse said. Besides Liu’s tragic death, “There were children on board the vessel, and they were fully aware of what was happening,” she said.
In the wake of the incident, few details have been released about the circumstances leading to Liu’s death.
The Miami-Dade police department, which handled the case, said it is awaiting autopsy results, and it is not “readily apparent” if there should be reason to suspect foul play.
“Dive rules state you need to go where your buddy goes,” Hesse said. “There was something really wrong happening.”
Caprara also said further investigation is necessary to determine more specifically what happened during Liu’s dive.
“I can’t speak to that,” he said. “Something unfortunate happened.
A scuba diver was found dead off the coast of Miami Beach after fellow divers reported her missing.
She was a Chinese tourist in her 30s and drowned mysteriously after she kept a weight belt on and sank to the bottom of the ocean.
The woman went diving with a group of 40 people in an area near Key Biscayne in Florida.
Police are now investigating the incident as many are confused as to why she had kept the weight belt on.
A theory is that she did not understand safety procedures and took off the wrong equipment while she was underwater. She was found without any other equipment on, aside from the weight belt.
Ariane Dimitris, a member of the group, said all divers are taught to take off their belt in emergencies.
“I’ve never heard of anyone taking off even their fins. It’s very strange,” he said. “And normally if someone panics you’re supposed to drop your weights and keep everything else on you because that was her survival.”
Divers think the weight belt was what led to her death.
They said it was the equivalent to grabbing onto an anchor in the water instead of a life preserver.
She was reported missing after the group did a roll call and she was not there.
All divers use a buddy system, but she did not speak English and left her partner.
After learning of her missing status, the US Coast Guard sent a boat to search for her and her body was found after two hours.
“We brought her back up, I did CPR, I’m an EMT,” said Kevin Galloway, a fellow diver. “There were also two student doctors on the boat. We did what we could but she was gone.”
She was participating in a scuba dive event organized by RJ Diving Ventures of Miami Beach
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A deadly day on water off Miami Beach after a missing diver was found dead.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the sent a boat to check out reports of a missing diver aboard a boat operated by RJ Diving Ventures on Miami Beach. They said when their crew arrived the missing had been found and her body was on the boat.
According to one of the divers on the charter trip, who did not wish to be named, there were about 40 divers on the boat and all were paired up before they hit the water.
When they came to the surface, one of the divers reported their ‘buddy’ was missing. Divers on the boat were able to locate the woman and recover her body. The boat then headed back to the marina in Miami Beach.
“She sank right to the bottom because she was wearing weights; it’s very difficult to keep yourself up,” Jaclyn Hesse, a diver on board told CBS4’s Summer Knowles. “If she had taken off her weight belts first and then taken off the BCD she would’ve stayed afloat.”
Miami Beach police, Miami-Dade Police, the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are all involved in the investigation.
Police have not released the woman’s name or speculated as to what may have gone wrong.