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August 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 48, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Never Forget: Let Your BC Find the Surface

from the August, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Off Mukilteo beach, a little north of Seattle, in late June, diver and popular Edmonds chef Hans Korompis, 33, was last seen headed downward. His body was never recovered.

His buddy, Thomas Nickens, said he and Korompis entered the water from the shore around 8 a.m. and attempted to locate the Geo Dome, an artificial reef 50-60 feet deep, but couldn't find it. They surfaced to see where they were and then went back under. But visibility was poor and both became disoriented.

"At the bottom, there was zero visibility," Nickens said. "I tried to tell him to go up, but we couldn't see anything. I think we were both very disoriented." Both divers were running out of air, and Nickens filled his BC. "I was trying to pull him up, but I couldn't because he was trying to swim down. We lost hold of each other, and I surfaced," he wrote.

After surfacing, Nickens said he waited a few minutes to see if Korompis would surface, and when he did not, swam back to shore and flagged down someone for help. Rescue divers reported zero visibility and currents.

It's a tragic tale, more common than we'd like to think: a disoriented or panicked diver who can't see the surface searches for it, rather than just inflating his BC and rising.

When you don't know where the surface is, let your BC find it for you.

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