When I began training seriously as a scuba diver, I started reading a series of reports on the deaths of American divers. The publication, Report on Diving Accidents and Fatalities, is published annually by the Divers Alert Network, a group of medical doctors associated with the recompression (hyperbaric) chamber facilities at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. The case histories in these reports, describing virtually every fatal dive accident involving a US diver in a given year, offer medical and technical information in the hope that future, potentially fatal, dive accidents might be avoided. In many cases, it is a small mistake in a stressful situation that leads to death.

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