FOLLOWUP: Student diver rescued in West Seattle has died

(WSB photo from Sunday)

12:40 PM MONDAY: The diving student pulled from the water near Seacrest on Sunday afternoon did not survive. We’ve just learned that from the Seattle Police report on the incident; as we had noted in an update on the original coverage this morning, Harborview Medical Center said the woman’s family had exercised its right to ask the hospital not to release information, but the police report says the woman, in her early 20s but not yet publicly identified, was declared dead less than two hours after she was rescued. The report includes more information on what happened: Police spoke with the instructor, who, according to the report:

… relayed that he was leading a scuba class with three student divers. (He) told us that once he realized visibility under water was very poor, he made the decision to surface and bring all three student divers back up. (He) signaled and said that all three divers gave a thumbs-up, saying that they understood and would also be resurfacing. Upon reaching the surface, (the instructor) counted only two of the students but could not locate the third. The third student was (the victim). The instructor said that they made it back into shore and two of the other divers got new oxygen tanks to go locate (the victim … while someone) called 911.

The report says that after the rescue operation was under way, a civilian diver found the missing diver in 69 feet of water (yesterday’s information had said it was about 40). She was brought to the surface at about 1:05 pm and CPR began; as noted in our coverage, she was rushed to Harborview right about then in Seattle Fire Medic (Unit) 32. The report says she was declared dead at 2:37 pm.

Our archives show that this is the first diver death in the Seacrest area in four and a half years; the previous one also involved a diver who got into trouble during a class and on a Sunday, 29-year-old Tareq Saade. He was described in our coverage of that incident as having been part of an “advanced dive class.” In yesterday’s incident, according to the police report, another diver in the class told officers that it was their second day of instruction.

11:35 PM TUESDAY: The King County Medical Examiner has identified the diver who died as 22-year-old Patricia Flores-Perez. Her cause of death is listed as accidental drowning.

28 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Student diver rescued in West Seattle has died"

  • B August 29, 2016 (12:47 pm)

    Condolences to the family

  • Andre August 29, 2016 (12:59 pm)

    My sympathies to families and friends.

  • H August 29, 2016 (1:02 pm)

    My condolences to the family as well. Just so very sad.

  • Cami August 29, 2016 (1:10 pm)

    So very sad.  Sorry this happened.

  • WSneighbor August 29, 2016 (1:15 pm)

    Very sad.  WSB – What company was providing the dive lessons?

    • WSB August 29, 2016 (1:34 pm)

      Don’t know. Reports have names redacted.

      • Chemist August 29, 2016 (2:51 pm)

        Corporate personhood protection or maybe something like “James Sample’s Dive School” ?

        • WSB August 29, 2016 (3:02 pm)

          Without going back and looking again – we are on a breaking story – I don’t know that the dive school is named at all in the section of the report I have. The victim, the diver, the instructor’s names are redacted, which is SOP.

        • Rick August 29, 2016 (3:49 pm)


        • SCUBA Bob August 30, 2016 (10:44 pm)

          That company does not exist, what anus did you pull that name from?

          • WSB August 30, 2016 (11:34 pm)

            He was giving a hypothetical example in response to our explanation that the police report had names redacted, which is standard, wondering if the name was redacted because it was Firstname Lastname’s Diving School. Again, when making report narratives public, police redact a variety of details including the names of victims and witnesses and suspects, addresses, business/school/etc. names.

            Meantime, the Medical Examiner’s office did release the name of the diver who died and I have added it to the report above.

  • ingoodhands August 29, 2016 (1:34 pm)

    so sorry to hear this for the woman’s friends and family but i remain convinced that the rescue effort was the very best anyone could have hoped for.  to be treated by medic one professionals and then transferred to harborview, with a phenomenal trauma and emergency dept is the best any of us can hope for when a crisis arises.

    i donate to medic one each may for give big day and would encourage everyone to do the same- you never know when you’ll be the one needing their assistance and it’s a win win for the community to have such people working on our behalf.  i am sure they did everything in their human power to save this diver. may her family and friends recognize the great efforts made by many who are probably equally grieving this news today.

  • West Seattle since 1979 August 29, 2016 (2:22 pm)

    Condolences to her family and friends.

  • JO August 29, 2016 (2:32 pm)

    This is so sad. To her family and friends, I am sorry you must face this. Sending love, peace and my kindest thoughts to you. 

  • Alki resident #3 August 29, 2016 (2:39 pm)

    Heartbreaking. So, so sorry. <3

  • ScubaFrog August 29, 2016 (2:41 pm)

    What a tragedy.  My thoughts are certainly with the young woman’s loved ones and friends.

    We have incredible rescue-workers here, along with Harborview.  I’m so grateful to our police, fire department/medics and coast guard.  Their response was impeccable. 

  • JTB August 29, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    People should appreciate that a realistic response from the rescue team to an accident in a scuba class would most likely not be adequate to save the individual or prevent extensive, lasting brain damage.  

    My heart goes out to the family and friends of the unfortunate young woman who no doubt was eager to experience a world of delight and inspiration.  Without knowing anything about her specifically, I ‘m inclined to think that her intent should be honored and celebrated.

     I also extend my compassion to the instructors who were involved in this tragedy.  While people may take the most careful  measures to assure safety, there are always circumstances that will arise that confound those efforts.  Scuba diving involves learning to master and rely on life support equipment. It is a serious undertaking and is fraught with potential problems no matter how careful all the participants are.  

    I’m so sad that this young woman is deprived of the joy she sought.  Peace on her and respects to her spirit.

  • Liz August 29, 2016 (5:27 pm)

    I watched this happen as I live across the street.  I watched this all happen on my birthday. I watched this all happen knowing that my happy day would be the saddest day for a lot of folks till the day they die.  For me the day I was born would now  be the day someone they loved dearly died.  I felt, I cared I was sad.  A kiss to heaven for the diver and hugs to all that have a HUGE loss from this.  

  • Mark rhea August 29, 2016 (7:10 pm)

    I’m surprised there are few questions about the dive company. With that small a group to lose track of a third of the group is troubling. Don’t know if there are more dive companies there now than in the past but they pretty much own the sidewalks between Salty’s and marination with many more divers than in years past. I’ll bet many of the newbie divers never consider this could happen. Let’s hope the dive companies are being held to the Highest of standards

    • Gatewooder August 30, 2016 (8:34 am)

      Diving is dangerous.  Many things can go wrong, especially with a novice dealing with buoyancy control and direction.  Poor visibility compounds the situation by an order of magnitude, it is sometimes hard to figure out which way is up.  An experienced diver watches exhaled bubbles in a situation like that, but these were students and it is very disorienting.   And once a divers get out of sight, it is very hard to find each other again.  I don’t know what happened in this situation, but my first open water dive was in poor visibility and I still remember the disorientation I experienced.

  • Shellea Allen August 29, 2016 (7:44 pm)

    Condolences to all.  Family, Friends, To her class and instructors.  Much love from the Bottom Dwellers Scuba Club.  

  • North August 29, 2016 (8:21 pm)

    Could you possibly re-write the headline, perhaps to read  “Diving Student”?

    The phrase “Student DI-ver” looks so much like “Student DRI-ver” that you are bound to mislead people, and have them wondering how a ‘Student Driver’ ends up in the water in the first place.

  • wb August 29, 2016 (8:29 pm)

    Blessings to this young woman’s  family and friends.

  • Moose August 29, 2016 (11:58 pm)

    Beyond sad. What was to be an adventure and  courageously  done in our Puget sound it’s  remarkably sad to lose a student diver. I’m thinking about the family and friends trying to sort this out. There are no words. Just gut  wrenching sadness. I am so very sorry for your lose. :(

  • SuzAnne August 30, 2016 (8:14 am)

    This is beyond sad. My condolences to family and friends. And my heart felt caring to her instructor and those on the rescue team?

    Being in a similar accident in 2000 I know the affects on family and community this has and I was lucky to have pulled through. I can’t imagine the extreme sadness especially, her family and friends must being going through. My deepest sympathy.

  • Luis August 31, 2016 (8:47 pm)

    I know the family of this young woman and the mother is
    asking if anyone out there knows how to start a fundraiser so she can pay for
    the funeral.

    If anybody has any ideas please let me know.

    Thank you! God bless you.

    • Toni Webb September 3, 2016 (9:02 pm)

       I’m just learning of  this terrible tragedy from my daughter who was a childhood classmate of this young woman.  I will check with the resources regarding financial assistance for funeral costs.  Should this information be forwarded to you?    

  • patricia September 19, 2016 (6:49 am)

    I was supposed to have my first open water dive on the 27th of August at Alki. This was the 3rd time it was a “was”. My name is also Patricia. Though I trust my dive school and wonderful instructors 110%, I understand there are always serious risks. Something tells me the “universe” is telling me not to move forward in this endeavor. Though I am a very strong swimmer, I have nearly drowned twice. Once at 2 and once at 15. I am now 54. I think for once I will “listen”…. but ohhh how I long to see and swim with an octopus in all its glory and free. 

     I ache for the family, friends and instructors of this young lady and respect her courage as the prospect was as scary as it was exciting (for me anyway). Being “effortlessly suspended” and “pain free” was the thing my dreams are made of.  May everyone involved in any way find peace. And may Patricia rest in peace.

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