We just talked to the coroner investigating the death of Jane Orenstein. Jane, as you may recall, perished recently during a socalled "technical training" dive when her IANTD instructor, Derek McNulty, chose not to attempt a rescue as she drifted to bottom in 270fsw, following an apparent loss of consciousness. Jane was carrying two deco stage bottles. According to the coroner one bottle contained 3300 psi of EANX 35 and the other bottle contained 1900 psi of EANX 80. Based on the time the divers were on deco as well as the neatly parked state of the regulator on the EANX 35 bottle, observed by George Irvine, Robert Carmichael and Dan Volker on initial discovery, the 80/20 bottle, more than likely, had been the one breathed. The bottles were unmarked with either MOD or gas analysis at the time of her post mortem recovery. Based on these facts it seems clear that Jane probably breathed the 80/20 mix during the deep phase of her decompression. This problem, possibly aggravated by CO2 buildup from breathing through the dead space of a dive communicator, may have caused her to tox or lose consciousness. No one would dispute that breathing of the 80/20 mix at the 130fsw deco stop is extremely dangerous if not potentially fatal (ppo2 of approx 4.0). Essentially, what we have here is a death, which may have directly resulted from the unambiguous negligence of inadequate to nonexistent bottle marking procedures. We have repeatedly advised and argued ad infinitum with IANTD over the issue of stage bottle marking. The WKPP utilizes the only proven correct and acceptable method of bottle marking. This involves stenciling of the MOD (maximum operating depth) in large block letters (visible at least 20ft away) on the lower right and left side of the bottle so that this depth marking is clearly visible both to the diver and his or her team members. Additionally, all gas bottles must have the dated analysis securely affixed to the bottle, otherwise the gas cannot be used. No other method is acceptable and the track record of the WKPP in multi-team mixed gas long range, extreme exposure decompression dives, indisputably validates this methodology. Certainly, in the sad case of Jane Orenstein, these warnings were either flagrantly ignored or worse, the instructor was unaware of the life or death significance of this procedure Correct bottle marking procedures are the safety cornerstone of all mixed gas technical diving. We know this and just about everyone else out there knows this, or should know it. All of you are aware of those who are now not with us as a result of improper gas characterization. This cannot go on any longer, yet we continue to witness absolutely negligent behavior in regard to this most basic process. Recently, during our efforts in the West Palm Beach recovery attempt we observed a dive operation loading nitrox bottles which were either unmarked or spuriously designated. When this type of standards violation occurs the most punitive measures must be taken against the offenders. At a minimum, an operation even suspected of such transgressions, should be stripped of its franchise and the instructors expelled from the organization with extreme prejudice. If discovery and due process are an issue, immediate and conditional suspensions should be executed pending completion of the formal inquiries. -- Send mail for the `techdiver' mailing list to `email@example.com'. Send subscribe/unsubscribe requests to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
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