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Authorities investigate death of scuba diver off Catalina [Updated]

Authorities Thursday were investigating the death of a man who drowned while taking a scuba-diving class at the Casino Dive Park off Catalina Island.

Michel Mendo Meva’a was in a “discovery scuba-type course” March 5 when he became unconscious, authorities said.

“During the dive, something occurred and he went toward the surface," said Det. David Carver of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. “He sank back down and was assisted back to the surface by the instructor and a civilian.”

Meva’a was taken to shore, treated by paramedics and taken by lifeguard boat to the University of Southern California Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, an emergency medical facility for the treatment of scuba  accidents, Carver said.

Meva’a was pronounced dead at the center, Carver said.

No other details were available, and the investigation was continuing, Carver said.

[For the Record, March 22: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the medical facility as the University of California Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber.]

-- Ann M. Simmons


Comments () | Archives (7)

Horrible news for all watermen!

FYI, it is the University of Southern California Hyperbaric Chamber.

As thousands of divers know, Casino Point Underwater Park is a beautiful park. I've dived there many times. One of the park's attractions is the opporunity to dive in a kelp forest. An eyewitness said that the man was "large," and that he needed a large amount of weight to attain neutral buoyancy. Larger people gulp air at a greater rate than smaller people. As a diver uses the air in his tank, he becomes heavier. The man's sinking may indicate that he was carrying too much weight. Could the man have gulped down his air too quickly, only to find he had too much weight to stay on the surface? I don't know. In any case, I'd like to express my deepest sympathies to the friends and family of this man.

That's terrible. New scuba divers should really be watched closely until they are more proficient at their sport. In the vast majority of scuba related deaths, it is usually somebody who has only had 20 total dives or less.

Actually, it is the Los Angeles County hyperbaric chamber operated by LAC+USC Medical Center.

Scuba "discovery" courses throw people into the water with insufficient training and essentially no scuba skills. Risky enough in warm clear water in a motionless, shallow tropical lagoon. Much worse at a place like Catalina.

Today April 3rd I ran into this article after being hospitalized in the same dive spot as this tragic incident...I was given the equipment which was from the same shop catalina dive supply....I however have taken advance classes and have had 15 to 20 dives.....I experienced wet breathe and with 10 min into my dive I was gulping a vast amount of water so I went to my alternative air supply and I was gulping air from there as well..my buddy was a navy seal but it was too late to take alternative supply as I was sucking in too much water and out of air..luckily I was only 30ft down and I was exhaling on the way up and took about 15 seconds to get up before I was would be unconscious ....bottom line nobody bothered to investigate my equipment not even the sheriff...if I died right then and there nobody would of known the real reason..before my dive .when asking to do a quick review of all the connections due to my 8 month of not being in the water owners assistant of the dive shop asked me "I only will do it for a tip"...I'm disgusted and feel bad for the family who recently lost there loved one due to the negligence and unprofessionalism towards the safety of there clients....and I hope they did keep the equipment and research to see if it was maintenanced or damaged because with after my experience I felt like nobody would of known the real reason. if I died today , everything would of been kept hush hush....my condolences go out to the family and friends of the their loved one just lost

I have been assisting Discover Scuba courses for several years now and I have dove Casino Point several times. Casino Point is no place to hold a Discover Scuba type course.


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