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Title: Scuba diving fatalities in Australia, 2001 to 2013: Diver demographics and characteristics.
Austin Authors: Lippmann, John;Stevenson, Christopher;Taylor, David McD 
Affiliation: School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Department of Emergency Medicine, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, Austin Health, The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Australasian Diving Safety Foundation, Canterbury, Victoria, Australia
Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2020
Publication information: Diving and hyperbaric medicine 2020; 50(2): 105-114
Abstract: This study identified characteristics of victims of fatal scuba diving incidents to determine contributing factors and inform appropriate countermeasures. The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) was searched to identify scuba diving deaths for 2001-2013, inclusive. Data were extracted from witness and police reports, medical histories and autopsies. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse these data. There were 126 scuba diving-related fatalities identified during the study period. The mean age was 44 years, 99 (79%) victims were male and 83 (77%) were either overweight or obese. Most deaths occurred in New South Wales and Queensland, often in a commercial setting. Twenty-three (79%) Queensland victims were overseas tourists. At least 52 (41%) were novices and 17 (13%) died during training or an introductory scuba experience. Only 35 (28%) were with a buddy when the incident occurred and at least 81 (64%) were still wearing weights when recovered. The age of these victims may reflect an older cohort of participants and the associated higher prevalence of chronic medical conditions. The high prevalence of obesity suggests that this may be a risk factor. The high proportion of deaths in overseas tourists highlights an on-going need for appropriate screening and monitoring in what may be a higher risk cohort. The number of deaths that occurred under instruction highlights the importance of careful assessment of the site, prevailing conditions, an appropriate instructor-student ratio and close supervision.
DOI: 10.28920/dhm50.2.105-114
ORCID: 0000-0002-8986-9997
Journal: Diving and hyperbaric medicine
PubMed URL: 32557411
ISSN: 1833-3516
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: DAN – Divers Alert Network
Diving deaths
Diving incidents
Solo diving
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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