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May 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Even Royal Family Members Are Dive Fatalities

from the May, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A 61-year-old woman diver who drowned on March 23 in Malaysia's Perhentian Islands was a member of that country's Perak royal family. According to the Malay Mail, Raja Halimahton Shahrin Sultan Idris, sister-in-law to the ruler of the Malaysian state of Jophor, was at 60 feet in Pasir Hantu Bay when her air supply gave out.

She and her buddy started an ascent, and at 50 feet she signaled she was OK and decided to continue the dive, but she suddenly became weak. Other divers went to her aid with their alternate air sources, but they couldn't revive her.

Could it have been immersion pulmonary edema (IPE)? That's when a diver suddenly experiences difficulty breathing and often thinks it's due to the regulator malfunctioning, when in fact it is caused by body fluids filling the lungs. The consensus of medical professionals is that under these circumstances, it's imperative to remove the diver from the water. However, post-mortem examinations are inconclusive because IPE presents the same symptoms as conventional drowning.

See our articles "Why Divers Die: Part II" in the February issue, and "Maybe This is the Reason Why His Wife Drowned" from the March issue for more specifics about this mysterious cause of many divers' drowning.

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