[abstract] CHARACTERISTICS OF CAVE DIVING FATALITIES BEFORE AND AFTER 1980.

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[abstract] CHARACTERISTICS OF CAVE DIVING FATALITIES BEFORE AND AFTER 1980.

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Title: [abstract] CHARACTERISTICS OF CAVE DIVING FATALITIES BEFORE AND AFTER 1980.
Author: Zeigler, E; Buzzacott, P; Denoble, PJ; Vann, RD
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Cave diving fatalities increased in the 1960s and 70s coincident with the growth of cave diving popularity and caused cave diving organizations to introduce preventative interventions including raised public awareness, restricted access, improved training, and enhanced safety rules (e.g., use of guidelines, return after exhausting one third of the gas supply). This study compared characteristics of cave diving fatalities before and after 1980 to investigate the possible impact of the interventions. METHODS: Cave fatality case files compiled by John McAniff and DAN were divided into 215 “Early” cases from 1960-1979 and 213 “Late” cases from 1980-2007. Cases were reviewed for adherence to rules and root causes of the accidents. The student’s t-test or chi-square test assessed differences between groups (p<0.05). RESULTS: The annual number of fatalities peaked in 1975 at 30 and decreased to 5-7 over the last five years. 94% of “Early” cases and 69% of “Late” cases were without cave certification. Mean ages were 23.2±6.2 (SD) for “Early” cases and 32.7±10.9 for “Late” cases. The guideline rule was broken equally for both groups (24%) while 35% of “Early” fatalities and 23% of “Late” fatalities broke the one-third gas supply rule. Running out of gas was the leading root cause in 70% of “Early” cases and in 50% of “Late” cases. CONCLUSION: The percentage of non-cave certified diving deaths after 1980 decreased significantly suggesting that the decrease in the annual number of deaths may have been related to an increase in certification. Changes in cave diving fatality characteristics also suggest that emphasis on certification, improved training, safety rules, and perhaps greater diver maturity may have reduced cave fatalities during 1960-2007. Without knowledge of the number of cave divers and their exposure, however, this conclusion is tentative.
Description: Abstract of the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting June 26-28, 2008 Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Salt Lake City, Utah.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/7819
Date: 2008

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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