Russian Diver Drowns Off Koh Chang

Koh Chang NewsBangkok Post 22 Feburary

( Note – this story & the headline used is inaccurate.  The deceased was a snorkeller, not a diver, and was trying to swim as deep down as possible when he was last spotted.  The dive company had alerted the police as soon as they realised someone was missing and also launched a search, along with divers from other boats nearby. )

A Russian man drowned while diving to view a shipwreck sunk to create an artificial reef south of Koh Chang on Saturday.

The body of the 63-year-old Russian tourist was found floating near the wreck of the HTMS Chang at Hin Rab-Hin Luk Bat, a popular dive site, said police who were alerted around 1pm on Saturday.

The tourist, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, and another Russian friend had purchased dive packages from Chang Diving Co, said Ananya Nolthenius, 39, a representative of the tour firm.

The man and other divers boarded the firm’s boat to the dive site on Saturday morning.  At the site, there were snorkelling and wreck diving, she said.

At around 11.30am, the diving instructors signalled all the tourists to return to the boat to go to another site. But when they did a head count they discovered one person was missing. They asked the boat captain to survey the area to look for the missing man.

Another diving tour boat later spotted the body of the tourist floating about 200 metres away from the dive site.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident. They believe the man might have entered the wreck without carrying a portable oxygen tank and this might have led to his death.

1 Comment

  • Possibly not the cause here but I read a very interesting article about freediving, which also applies when swimming lengths in the pool underwater.

    If you hyperventilate before diving down (breathe deeply and slowly in and out), as a lot of freedivers tell you to to increase your breathhold, you put yourself at risk of blacking out underwater, something to do with the oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in your blood tricking your brain into thinking you have more time before you need to breathe than you actually do. And if that happens when you’re underwater you’ll almost certainly drown unless somebody notices you go limp within a few seconds.

    I couldn’t find any details on how prevalent this is, but for somebody who regularly snorkels alone (and dives down), it surprised me that it wasn’t more publicised and I hadn’t heard about it before.

    Wikipedia extract:

    “Shallow water blackout is a loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoxia towards the end of a breath-hold dive in water typically shallower than five metres (16 feet), when the swimmer does not necessarily experience an urgent need to breathe and has no other obvious medical condition that might have caused it.”

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