Diver saved following underwater heart attack

| 20/12/2010

(CNS): Although a number of divers die in Cayman waters every year sometimes those that get into distress are rescued and brought to safety. However, the rescues don’t often reach the press but the local tourist association has released details of recent rescue of visitor from the United States who suffered a heart attack underwater. Although it is believed to be very rare for a person to be saved under such circumstances on this occasion the speed and professionalism of the dive team saved the man’s life in what was described as a “text book rescue”.

On Friday 10 December at around 5pm a 66 year old visitor from the United States had a suspected heart attack whilst under scuba instruction with Divers Down. Dive Instructor Jenny Smetters (pictured above left) realized that the diver was in distress and having difficulty breathing whilst performing a dive skill underwater, Cayman Islands Tourism Association revealed. She immediately reacted and brought him to the surface where Dive Instructor Matt Nordin (middle) assisted in bringing him back to the dive boat. CPR was immediately administered by Smetters and fellow Dive Instructor Emily Petley Jones (right) as the diver had stopped breathing and his pulse could not be detected.

Miraculously, they were able to revive him and he was then able to breathe unaided for the short journey back to the South Sound Dock. Emergency Medics on the scene were able to stabilize the diver and transport him to the George Town Hospital, where an hour later he was chatting and making jokes with the nurses.

Divers Down owner operator Steve Surrey said it was a remarkable outcome to what could easily have been an unfortunate diving incident. “I am very proud of all the staff involved, especially Jenny and Emily; it was a text book rescue and a real team effort which resulted in the saving of another person’s life,” he said.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I see you there Matt!!

  2. R says:

     Great job Jenny!! I did my dive certification with her and she was fantastic!  Keep her here, Diver’s Down! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on a job well done.  We need to see more stories like this on CNS.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s nice to read a positive and feel good story for a change. Well done to the 3 dive instructors.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very often our Dive Professionals in Cayman are under appreciated.

    This incident brings to the forefront the quality of training these individuals have and their ability to handle difficult life and death situations.  The out come is not always this happy.  But the Professionalism of our instructors and divemasters is evident daily.

    It is not just the beautiful waters that bring divers back year after year to dive Cayman but the skill of our people in the dive industry.

    To them all I say Thank You.

  6. too says:

    Way to go!  Well done guys.
    That is an awesome job!


  7. John Evans says:

    This is the second time Jenny has been responsible for saving a diver’s life.

    Back in August 2007 she recovered a lady who was in difficulties, ending up in the recompression chamber herself as a result of the fast ascent necessitated by the rescue.

    Well done to all concerned.


  8. JEB says:

    Congratulations on a job well done

  9. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Let me tell you it is no easy feat to get a diver in distress to the surface, then an immobile diver onto a boat. These three dive masters/instructors need to be congratulated. Great job, you saved someone’s life.