New Yorker dies after dive trip in GT

| 24/07/2018 | 30 Comments

(CNS): A 64-year-old woman visiting the Cayman Islands from New York died Sunday following a diving trip off the coast of Eden Rock in South Church Street, George Town. Peggy Sylvia Michel got into difficulty while in the water at around 2:30pm and was assisted to shore by her dive companion, who, along with other members of the public, administered CPR until emergency personnel arrived. Michel was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. She is the ninth person to die in Cayman waters this year.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Another big ssue is for staff who gave CPR and who attempted to save this lady they had no counseling after and this has a huge impact on dive instructors as well as a horrible loss for the family but we also must take car of our rescue divers who performed CPR are over worked and also have to deal with the loss i can tell you that owners have not even asked the staff if they are ok about what happened or offered any counseling to deal with a traumatic experience. Just placed them back at work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t help but to notice the high increase in dive and water-sports related deaths in Cayman since the industry has been taken over by “fly-by-night” companies. The propensity of dive operators in Cayman is astounding. It appears that the interest of profits in this industry has surpassed its interest in safety.

    Yes, by numbers there are many more divers per year than 20 – 30 years ago, so more accidents would be expected. But the ratio of numbers of divers vs numbers of dive deaths per annum most likely will show the latter number to be excessive by any standards.

    I’m sure there have always been aging divers and those who perhaps had underlying health conditions coming to Cayman but only within the same time period that dive companies have sprung up like mushrooms have the deaths increased.

    CIG can regulate and over-regulate the financial industry, construction industry, transportation industry and others. Why is there no more attention being paid to watersports safety in Cayman by the powers that be?? Ostrich mentality while the dive industry continues to blame its customers’ health!!

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Yes, by numbers there are many more divers per year than 20 – 30 years ago,’ I’d say by that comment that you weren’t around 20-30 years ago because not only were there far more divers here in the 1990s but also far more dive operations. There’s another comment on this posted below (4.22 am) and as that says the dive industry today is a shadow of what it once was. I was also there!

  3. John Lin says:

    I’m a 66 year old male diver. I dive about once a month with Westin Red Sail. The group goes around with the dive master until one by one these young folk get low on air.
    leaving just the dive master and me on the bottom, able to stay down for another 15 minutes.

  4. jeannine says:

    I know Peggy, the victim, personally. She and her husband are experienced divers and have dived all over the world. Maybe she had an unknown health condition that put her at greater risk. And FYI this was shallow dive. Shame on you for casting blame. Be supportive of the family that lost a wife, mother, grandmother. She wasn’t just a tourist…. They have been frequent visitors to your island of GC and have dived on every trip.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for telling us this. It is EXACTLY as I said below at 2:15p.
      This is the land of the most judgemental people I have ever come across.
      Cayman!!! Have you ever heard of giving the benefit of doubt!!??
      Stop being so quick to judge! Not every one is like you and is out of shape and boozing all the time before diving.

      I am SO very sorry for your loss. What a shock for you. Please know that we Caymanians are genuinely sorry when someone dies here. (Even though we are so judgmental.. We’d rather blame the victim than our sea)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry for your loss.

      Many women do have an “unknown” (undiagnosed) health condition which is ignored by mainstream medical professionals, because it is a challenge to diagnose.

      The focus is entirely on Coronary heart disease, when most women have Coronary microvascular disease where tiny coronary artery blood vessels do not have plaque, but damage to the inner walls of the blood vessels that can lead to spasms and decrease blood flow to the heart muscle.

      Even Health City in the Cayman Islands doesn’t diagnose CMVD.

  5. Anonymous says:

    if this is true about drugs and alcohol then it needs to be addressed and sooner rather than later.
    I am not in a position to know what happens to these when people go diving but I cannot help but wonder if these older folks who come here and have never set foot in the salt water should be allowed to go into the deep buoyant sea with scuba equipment fastened to them. this has to be difficult and more so if you are elderly.
    It is a lot for them to handle. the water across from where they go is very deep and buoyant.
    Just wondering. I would encourage snorkelling rather than scuba gear if you are a senior. Perhaps a gentle persuasion to

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do you folks know how many people die unexpectedly ALL OVER THE WORLD???? It can happen anywhere at anytime!! Jeez. You people need to calm yourselves.
    Stop BLAMING everyone for something that has NOTHING to do with them.

    She very well could have been in brilliant shape and doing a shore dive on her own with friends.

    • anonymous says:

      Thank you. I know Peggy and her husband Keith. They are experienced divers and have done so all over the world. They frequented the Cayman Islands. And yes, it was a shore dive and she was in great shape to dive. Its a sad day for the family and our community.

    • Anonymous says:

      151,600 a day. 6,316 each hour. Dying while diving beats, rotting from cancer, Alzheimer…
      Condolences to her family.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The frequency of these specific types of deaths seem to be increasing. When was the last time a safety audit was carried out on the dive/snorkling service providers? Are they being rated on their safety?

    • East End Resident says:

      It’s not the providers, it’s the increasing age and decreasing level of fitness of the participants. Most of these people are overweight, out of shape and have a medical condition which they have not disclosed to the dive operator. If a heart attack happens on land, you have a chance. If it happens underwater, and it can due to increased activity level, there is no chance.
      In order to prevent it from happening, Cayman must come into line with a lot of other countries who require a current diving medical signed off by their doctor before people can enter the water or take a training course. Many of the people who get into difficulties in the water would still be alive if there was this requirement, because they would never have obtained the ‘fit to dive’ certificate.
      Diving is awesome, but it’s not worth dying for.

      • Anonymous says:

        East End Resident

        Name me some of the countries that ‘require a current diving medical signed off by their doctor’ because I bet there aren’t that many.

        I’ve dived and worked all over the world. The only place where I’ve ever found a blanket requirement for a current diving medical was Malta and that was little more than a money-making scam, which I understand ceased back in 2004.

        When I worked in Israel (see my other comment) the law required open water students to have a full medical with a chest x-ray and, if they were over 40, an ECG but certified divers just signed a waiver. Some dive centres in Egypt require a (or at least required last time I was there in 2011) a current medical but it wasn’t mandatory and it turned into a bit of joke because all people from Europe did was print a stock form off the internet and sign it themselves.

        Bottom line – doctor-signed ‘fit to dive’ certificates don’t work and if you try to push it people will stop coming here. There is probably a need for watersports operators to apply a kind of ‘due diligence’ and challenge the medical fitness of their clearly less able customers but with the pressures on them, particularly from the cruise lines, do you think that will ever happen? I certainly don’t. These people are adults, if they lie on the medical waivers that’s their decision.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve never heard of a ‘dive safety audit’ on dive companies, or the industry in general, anywhere in the world. So, sorry, but I don’t think such a thing exists to give you an easy answer to this problem.

      (The hard answer usually has to do with underlying health conditions invisible to the dive operator. Some of them, even if there was a requirement for a medical exam done the day before, it still wouldn’t be picked up or at most you’d know you were at an elevated risk of, for example, a heart attack. But that covers a lot of people diving and engaging in other ‘moderate’ activities quite safely every day.)

      • Anonymous says:

        Addictions of Divemasters is certainly a major siruation on island.
        See them drinking island-wide, Sundays at Royal Palms.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh boy so they go out and drink and can’t do their job? It’s not like they’re drunk on the job so I don’t get what you’re trying to say.

        • Anonymous says:

          24/07/2018 at 2:36pm yeah supposedly, whatever, that’s a stupid thing to say.
          Along with you and every other 20 something that lives here! What does that have to do with anything??

      • Anonymous says:

        An intelligent comment on this issue, which is not one that will be going away anytime soon , despite the cries for ‘safety audits’ and random substance testing on dive staff / personnel. You can have a heart attack shovelling snow, but there is no mandatory 100% guaranteed medical before you pick up a shovel that says you are ‘Safe to shovel snow’ .

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of the Foreign young Divemasters are hungover or drunk. They say being hungover is no problem for them.
      Their Facebook pages reveal their truth…
      Safety first or Work Permits generated of most importance?
      EE is inundated with them always, as elsewhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        This was by all accounts a shore dive and therefore very likely no divemaster involved, so wind you neck in

      • Anonymous says:

        I am pretty sure this individual was shore diving with her dive buddy, and not with a dive master. How would a dive master’s lifestyle affect her dive?

        Additionally, the recent death that occurred at Don Foster’s was also a shore diver, in case you didn’t know. They come in, show their c card, rent gear, and go diving.

        The fact of the matter is, if you look at most of these incidents, the common factor is age. The population of divers is aging, and with that comes inherent risks, especially if the diver is overweight, or a smoker.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just to clarify, what was named as “recent death at Don Foster’s Dive was also a shore diver” was not that recent. Neither was a diver. Was a lady swimming within a group snorkeling from shore. She did not feel well upon entering the water and was assisted immediately by crew in the water and then the EMS. Unfortunately she had some severe heart issues (including heart surgery) that were triggered at that time. She did die doing what she wanted to do (she was asked by family not to go) and was next to a family member. She was in a quest to enjoy nature surrounded by people she loved rather than a gray hospital room or a lonely cabin on a ship.

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion, including by those who do not have all the facts at hand. They evaluate the situation from their own fears point of view and a short police report that does not reveal any details.
          Since Scuba Diving is not a right, operators can place any restrictions they deem appropriate to aim minimize safety issues. However those restrictions are clearly directed to limit liability and responsibility. Rather than the concept of “saving lives” are directed to “do not let it happen on my watch or my dive center”.
          The advocates for more rules, laws, audits, etc fail to see the bigger picture of this industry and feel safer staying at home watching TV rather than doing anything that might be even lightly risky in nature. If we were educated to exercise our right to take our own responsibility rather than lay blame in others for what we do every day and to always do what is right without needing someone to look over our shoulders; then we would not need rules that in cases may infringe in our liberties.

      • Anonymous says:

        What on earth has this to do with any Divemaster / Dive Company? Some people went diving just like they are allowed to go cycling, or walking the Mastic Trail and had a very unfortunate accident. Please don’t try and blame a group of people who weren’t even there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Drug and alcohol test Divemasters randomly. Cocaine, Ganja and Alcohol use abundant amongst them.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:17 Sadly, the common denominator in all these deaths seems to be the victim’s age and general health and from experience I’d say the odds are very good that’s the situation here. I dived for 20 years, I was a PADI MSDT for 14 years and held deep air (I was still doing 200’+ when I was 56) and rebreather certifications but finally retired myself from all scuba diving when I turned 61. There weren’t any real health issues (I’m 5′ 8″ and still weigh 160lbs!) it was just I could feel I’d lost the edge.

      This is a judgment call for the individual and it’s very hard for the various service providers to be held liable for that. When I was working we caught customers taking drugs to control things like high blood pressure, blood clotting and fluid retention or showing signs of recent heart surgery but on their medical waivers they hadn’t declared any of it. We also had divers who were clearly so unfit they shouldn’t have been in the water but at the end of the day these people are adults and if they’re prepared to do this there’s not much you can do about it.

      It’s also a waste of time demanding the government step in and start tightening up the rules because regulation doesn’t solve anything. I worked as a CMAS 2 Star Instructor in a country where all scuba diving is controlled by law yet we had a fatality involving an open water student in her mid-30s – that occured just three days after she’d had the mandatory pre-course medical and in about 12′ of water!

      At the risk of seeming cold-blooded people die playing golf, people have heart attacks in the street, people die riding bicycles – it happens so why all the hysteria when it involves snorkeling or scuba diving?

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you.

        I think the ‘hysteria’ is that a lot of people gronk that SCUBA diving is important to Cayman’s economy and tourism identity, in a way that golfing is not, and they fear that if we get a reputation as a ‘dangerous’ dive destination then the divers, i.e., the tourists, will stop coming. The ‘hysteria’ is coming from a good place – we don’t want people to die, we want tourists to keep coming – but I agree with you that it is mis-placed/directed/informed.

        • Anonymous says:

          8:16 I think it’s a bit too late to start worrying about damage to the image of diving here.

          Anyone like me who was around here in the early and mid-1990s will tell you that the dive industry today is a shadow of what it used to be 25 years ago. I can remember full dive boats, sometimes queuing to get on moorings on the North Wall and four or five dive boats at the Oro Verde – you don’t see any of that now. And look at all the dive operators that have disappeared – my log book is full of stamps from once-renowned dive centres that are now long gone!

          Whether it’s the cruise ships giving us a rep for running ‘cattle boat’ operations, the high prices or simply that divers have found better places to go the damage has already been done and the divers have already moved on.

          Last time I dived off Grand Cayman as a customer it was peak Winter season. After a morning wall dive we went to the Kittiwake and were the only boat there. There were also only three of us on that boat – that’s not indicative of a booming dive industry.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m not sure what ‘gronk’ means but I’m liking that word!! (I still understood what you were saying..)
          I agree with your comment as well.

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