Update: 3 divers taken to hospital after rescue near Seacrest

(photo added 12:01 pm — investigators from multiple agencies including SPD Harbor Patrol)
ORIGINAL 11:28 AM REPORT: Major fire/medic response for a “water rescue” in the 1700 block of Harbor, just west of Seacrest. Scanner says a diver is being brought to the hospital. On our way to the scene to find out more about what happened. 11:52 AM UPDATE: Co-publisher Patrick is at the scene and reports the Fire Department incident commander on the scene says three divers were brought to the surface by fellow divers because of some kind of trouble. What went wrong, and what condition they’re in, we don’t know yet – a public-information officer is on the way and we expect more information then. This happened between Seacrest and Salty’s. Will update when info comes in. (Side note – Our archives show the last major incidents involving divers in the Seacrest area were the death of Joshua Magee last January, five months after 43-year-old Wayne Hernandez died in July 2007. 12:26 PM UPDATE: An update from Seattle Fire spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen: They got a call around 11 about a missing diver. When a fireboat arrived, two divers had brought that “missing diver” – a 25-year-old man – to the surface. Firefighters began CPR and took the 25-year-old to shore. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center. The other two were transported as a “precautionary measure” because of possible effects of making a rapid ascent. Vander Houwen says they were diving about 100 feet from shore and about 100 feet down. Another source at the scene tells WSB these three were part of a group of six diving in and around a “wreck” (here’s a dive map of that general area). 2:49 PM UPDATE: The Police Department has not updated its report on the investigation — divers returned to the scene to see what they could find out; we shot this video as they went into the water from the patrol boat:

However, we just checked with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office to see if they had been called in (which would be the case if anyone had died) – they say no. That’s the closest we can come right now to finding out any information on the condition of the rescued diver, since privacy laws have long since made it impossible for media to call a hospital and inquire about someone if you don’t have their name. We’ll keep checking with authorities for updates.

15 Replies to "Update: 3 divers taken to hospital after rescue near Seacrest"

  • JJ November 1, 2008 (11:51 am)

    I was riding by when they got the diver out of the water. He or she was unconscious; the medics did CPR and oxygen for about 5 minutes and then put them in the ambulance. It didn’t look good.

  • Forest November 1, 2008 (3:17 pm)

    I have no experience with scuba diving, yet judging from the warning disclaimer on the diving map, descending more than 60 feet is foolhardy., These divers were at a reported depth of 100 feet. Is depth a major factor in most of the fatal and near-fatal accidents around Seacrest?

  • scottsax November 1, 2008 (3:32 pm)

    Depth isn’t a factor usually in dive incidents-errors in judgement or panic are the primary causes of problems underwater. 100 feet is deep, but it’s not dangerous if you keep your wits about you and your buddy close. Nitrogen narcosis can and does set in at that depth and will cause disorientation that could lead to panic. This is an awful tragedy-I hope the diver’s able to make a full recovery.

  • Peter November 1, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    While depth is a factor in many accidents, the most important factor is “diver error” of one kind or another. “Diver error” can take the form of: a. Diving beyond one’s training (either to a depth or something else); b. Diving without enough gas (air) for the dive that is planned (you need a LOT more gas for a dive to 100 feet for 20 minutes than to a dive to 30 feet for 20 minutes and tanks have very different amounts of gas); c. What is called “situational awareness” — which is another way of saying, be aware of everything that is going on around you and don’t focus on just one thing (depth for example) — where are your buddies, what is the depth, how much gas do I still have in my tank; which way is “home” — all these things need to be considered at all times while diving.

    It sounds like this guy got lost, perhaps panicked but didn’t come to the surface on his own. As they say in flying, there is one “mandatory maneuver” — and there is one in diving too.

  • Lamont Granquist November 2, 2008 (2:44 pm)

    Divers routinely dive to 100-120 feet off of Seacrest park without incident. The basic scuba certification that everyone gets on day one has a depth recommendation of no deeper than 60 feet, but there are courses commonly taken by recreational scuba divers which extend this depth recommendation to 100-130 feet.

    Without doing a formal analysis of accidents, my impression, however, is that a large number of accidents occur in the 60-100 foot range by relatively novice divers. The diving certification course that lets you dive in that range also doesn’t make newer divers immune from getting into severe trouble in that range.

    I would say that the depth involved is something like driving over the passes in Washington at night in the rain or other bad conditions. This is something that I do without thinking about it, but could be very dangerous conditions for a teenager or someone who doesn’t drive much. But still 99 times out of 100 even the most novice driver lives through their first trip over the pass and all the rest of them — just like most divers experience 100 foot dives long before they are probably ‘ready’ for them, but still live through them all.

    Similarly, I’m probably working on 100 dives at Alki alone in the 90-120 foot range and think nothing of popping down there for a quick, ‘easy’ dive.

  • lilatran November 2, 2008 (7:48 pm)

    The missing diver was my brother, his name is Duy Tran. We do not know how long he was under water for before he was found, nor have we been told about what the possible cause of the accident was. He has severe brain damage from the extended period of time he was without oxygen, we were told that it took 30 minutes to get his heart beating again. We just hope that there will be some good news somewhere in the future.

  • Kal Durak November 3, 2008 (8:55 am)

    lilatran – My heart goes out to you – you are going to have some rough times ahead – please keep us posted on your brother’s progress.

  • thelawgoddess November 3, 2008 (10:53 am)

    lilatran, my heart also goes out to you and your family and all of duy’s friends.

  • JumboJim November 3, 2008 (11:21 am)

    As a novice diver who got certified at Alki I just hate to see these accidents happen – its such a beautiful experience to see the underwater world that is Puget Sound. Even in shallow water close to shore the beauty of the plants and animals is amazing. I sincerely hope that Duy Tran is able to fully recover and maybe even go diving off Alki again someday.

  • lilatran November 3, 2008 (7:48 pm)

    After some tests, the doctors told us that there is zero hope for recovery. At this point, the machine is keeping him breathing but his brain is completely gone.

    Of course, we were asked the question, but my mother is still looking for the one tiny hope that he will wake up by the end of this week. The doctors accepted her wishes and they will move him to a long term care facility.

  • WSB November 3, 2008 (8:08 pm)

    Thank you for the update, Lila; I am sorry to hear that news. But as I said to you in e-mail, please let us know if there is anything for which your family wants to request community help — TR

  • Nick Hartman November 4, 2008 (5:10 pm)

    Wow, what a horrible accident. My heart also goes out to the family.

    I am a local Scuba Instructor, I dive at Seacrest all the time. I have seen many accidents there over the years. Most of them, unfortunately “diver error”.

    For myself I always try to remember “I don’t breathe water” This is not a natural environment for human beings, so it is inherently dangerous.

    I have had close calls myself, only luck or fate has kept me here, sometimes we run out of both.

    I have the added burden of knowing the victim as well. I knew him as Lou Tran. I believe he did flooring for a living.

    I am a Painting Contractor, and we have done work for the same General contractor in the past. Although I did not know him well, he seemed like a really nice fellow and a great floor guy. He will be missed.

    I am a christian man so I will pray to God for the family and his well being.

    My understanding is that he was also an advanced diver, so his certification level was right for the depth he was diving. We may never know exactly what happened, as is usually the case in such things. I have already had two people I knew die in Scuba and it is always something you are not ready for, again my heart goes out to your family Lilatran hang in there.

    Nick Hartman aka Painterman

  • lilatran November 4, 2008 (5:45 pm)

    Thanks Nick for your prayers and support. He goes by so many names because he always worries about his customers having difficult time pronouncing his real name, which is Duy Tran.

    As always, he’s well known for putting his customers first :)

  • Calvin Vander Veen November 7, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    Oh, my heart is heavy for you and your family lilia…I just heard the news and found this blog. I am a general contractor who has worked with Lou for the past year or so. He was one of the most professional contractors I have ever worked with, and one of my favorites! I was sad to hear the news and I will be keeping your family in my prayers. I will always remember Lou for his upbeat attitude and as the classiest dressing flooring contractor I’ve ever met! Please keep us posted.

  • WSB November 7, 2008 (8:53 pm)

    I am working on one last update – unfortunately, Lila has just e-mailed to let me know that her brother passed away last night. The followup will be at the top of our home page shortly – TR

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