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Everything Else Bonaire: Sad News
Bonaire Talk: Everything Else Bonaire: Archives: Archives 1999 - 2004: Archives - 2001-07-02 to 2001-12-31: Sad News
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Baker on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 12:38 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Got this off of foxnews.com

BELIZE CITY, Belize A dive boat capsized as Hurricane Iris roared into Belize, and the owners said Tuesday that as many as 20 people were feared dead.


Twenty-eight people, most of them tourists from Virginia, were aboard the MV Wave Dancer as Iris hit southern Belize with 140-mph winds Monday night, said Patricia Rose, spokeswoman for Peter Rose Diving in Miami.

She said eight survivors had been accounted for Tuesday morning. The boat had been chartered by the Richmond Dive Club of Richmond, Va.

"A strong storm surge lifted the boat in the air, snapping the line and capsizing it. The boat may have hit a wall or the dock. It was secured," she said.

The 120-foot boat had been tied to a dock in a mangrove along with other dive boats and commercial boats near Big Creek, close to where the storm came ashore, some 80 miles south-southwest of Belize City.

"Belize City was evacuated so we could not put the guests in a hotel. We were forced to keep them on the boat," she said.

The boat capsized in approximately 12 feet of water. It did not sink, but turned on its side.

"We're hoping for survivors but I don't know that it's likely," she said.

Local radio stations reported that Iris flattened several coastal towns as it hit Monday night, destroying hundreds of houses. It was not immediately clear if there were other deaths.

The hurricane raised seas by 13 to 18 feet above normal, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, and forecasters predicted rainfall totals of five eight inches.

The storm crossed most of the Central American isthmus overnight. By morning, Iris had weakened to tropical depression centered about 45 miles southeast of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico.

The British Army, which has 250 soldiers in Belize at a training center, pledged to help in rescue operations.

"Reports we have received suggest that parts of the country where it hit hardest have taken a very bad battering," said Major John Knopp, second-in-command of the British Army Training Support Unit in Ladyville, 12 miles north of Belize City.

In Placencia, a fishing village and resort town of several hundred people where many homes are small wooden structures on stilts, numerous houses were lost, said Andrea Villanueva.

"Our own roof went and most of the houses went down," Villanueva told local LOVE-FM radio as the hurricane's eye passed over late Monday. "But we're experiencing a calm right now."

The radio announcer told Villanueva to stay inside, reminding him the eye of the hurricane is passing over and winds would come quickly.

North of the storm, intermittent heavy rains and winds blew through Belize City, a low-lying, seaside city of 65,000 people where soldiers went door to door to evacuate people from their homes.

The streets, some of which had flooded, were deserted late Monday and homes and businesses alike were boarded up. The nation's capital was moved inland to Belmopan after Hurricane Hattie destroyed much of Belize City in 1961.

Civil defense authorities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras implemented states of alert in anticipation of heavy rains from Iris, and thousands of people left low-lying areas for higher ground.

Barry Baker

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Baker on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 12:41 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry, I did not see this same story on another posting

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 1:49 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Oh man, that is real bad news. Most commercial boats/ships are insured by Lloyds. They have very strict criteria on seeking a designated "safe harbor" in the event of a Hurricane. It is not like these things sneak up on you. A huge surge was expected from this storm. Unless she had some mechanical problem, I can't see why they stayed put. This may turn out to be very preventable.
On the other hand a "safe harbor" designated back in 97 (I think) was St. Martin, the storm changed track and wiped out that port, so I guess you never really know the right thing to do.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 2:32 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

I've been following this story all day. Where the dive boat was moored was suppose to be a "safe harbor", so much for that theory. Iris surprised everyone, it's track shifted South while it's intensity increased. I've heard there are no buildings left in Placencia. Just slightly North in Dangrega almost no damage, so I'm hoping the Blue Marlin and Glover's Reef was spared, way to early to tell. The initial reports are pretty sketchy. It would seem the Richmond, Va dive club was all but wiped out by Iris. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 3:01 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

track

Cecil, I'm kind of a hurricane junkie, I thought this one pretty much followed the projection.
Also, and not to split hairs, I can't see how a mangrove island can be considered a safe harbor.

I share your feelings, just thought this report to be odd.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 4:47 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Dave, I'm just repeating what I've heard on the Belize (link) and Diver-to-Diver boards (link). There has been alot of discussion about this event. One of the things that was so strange is her sister boat was docked next to her and did not sustain any damage. I swear I read yesterday that Iris was going to hit North Belize, I can't get to where I read that as the Belize forum is down. Here's a link saying pretty much what I said, could be wrong and apparently it was not a safe harbor, link.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Carole Baker on Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - 5:47 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Cecil, thank you for posting the links. cb

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:02 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

ALCON,
They are still sorting through the lists and all but it was confirmed that the president of the Richmond Scuba Club was among the dead. This is major blow to this two year old club as this was their first major trip not to say the degree of personal tragedy to a tight knit diving community as found in Richmond.
As far as the run or stay decision.. I think, as a formerly license 100T master, little is served by second guessing the decision. One of the standard approaches in smaller vessel handling is to secure a vessel in face of a storm is mangrove areas because of root systems and nature of trees.. Since the club was traveling on two boats (an agressor, which was near by and rode it out), I am sure there are a lot of other mitigating circumstances. With a CAT 4 bearing down on you in coastal waters.. there are not a lot of safe options or safe harbors except prayer..I have been in storms at sea in small vessel with sustained winds in excess of 80 (they called it a squall as it onll lasted part of a day)... and believe me there is not much you can do even with such a minor storm

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Linda Richter - NetTech on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:15 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

The Richmond Dive Club web site has postings on the latest news from Belize about the accident. They have a list of people with their status. Tragically, 15 are confirmed dead with 2 missing, only 3 survivors. 10 other club members aboard the Aggressor boat are safe.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:31 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

link is as follows:
http://www.richmonddiveclub.com/

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Deal on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:34 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

I posted this link above, at Dean's message under Tropical Storm Jerry. Follow-up story from today's Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33849-2001Oct9.html

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Gassert on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 11:28 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

This is truly a sad day. I have a hard time sometimes accepting tragedy without analysis....I guess it's my mental protection mechanism. At my age I've seen enough from high school on and don't need to go mental at this stage of life. Sensitive might be a nice trait, but it plays hell with the mind.

Forgive me if the following sounds insensitive, for it's not meant to be. My prayers go out to the families and friends of the souls lost.

Not to sound silly or anything, but being a past systems analyst, I often play out scenerios in my mind when I hear something like this - I guess so that I would never fall prey to a potential tragedy if ever presented before me. I prefer to have control of my life. So having said all that:

I would think if I had to ride out a hurricane on a boat, safe or not safe harbour, I would have my BCD on, fully inflated with a full tank of air, after throwing all the other tanks overboard (potential missles) and being fully equipped to 'dive'. I would think that staying below decks or topside would depend on the number of people on board. This I would think would protect me from drowning or being able to find 'up' in a mangrove or dark dirty waters if thrown overboard, etc.

I know - getting hit on the head, losing consciousness, none of it would work, but at least I would float or rise to an air pocket.

My mental problem is I try to put myself in the head of the victims and wonder what it must feel like to be in that situation and what I could do to stay alive. It plays out everytime I read about it.

I know, it's a sick way to think, but that is my cross to bear for escaping death several times in my lifetime and wondering 'Why?'

I hesitate sending this, but being among friends maybe you'll understand.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 11:59 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Barry, it's normal for divers to read an incident report and Monday morning quarterback. So don't sweat the lack of sensitivity discussing this incident, we all feel for the families. It sounds like the people on this boat did not feel they were in any danger and most had gone to bed after dinner, here one of the survivor's story link. They were pretty much blind sidded. Here's a link to a photo of the sunk boat link, quite a terrible sight.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 12:05 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Barry.. I understand what you are thinking..,, but couple of thoughts coming from a person who has full gear almost always on his boats (granted I think my off shore days are at an end),,
a) BCD's make lousy PFD's.. they are very vulnerable to tears and rips in such an environment and a lot of the fad tech bc's would float you face down.... for foul weather I have always relied on integrated harness/float jackets
b) Full Gear on is cumbersome.. worse comes to worse you may to extradite yourself from tight spaces.. I would think a decent size pony would be much better
c) I would make sure my Sandwhich shop coupons were in a watertight bag with me.. cause if I beat tha odds in a situtaion like that.. then I figure the next amazing thing would happen and you would reopen :)

No its not a sick way to think.. or we are sick together..

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 12:08 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Barry-you beat me to it. Perhaps Jason is right about second guessing, perhaps not.
I think it is important to try to learn from these tragic events.
For my part, I've taught scuba, held a six pack license, been diving for 20+ years, logged well over 2000 dives.
I had two back to back very bad experiences on Live aboard operations, one in Belize. (not with this op)
I find too many live aboard operations to be very lacking in upkeep in both engines and air compressors and cylinders.(one operator had 13 year old cylinders which had never been vi'ed or more importantly no hydro) As with all aspects of rec. diving the turnover in personnel is way high and the captains tend to be fresh out of the box so to speak.
I've read all the links in this thread and several others. What strikes me is the urgency involved in the decision(s).
Living in S.FL I keep a close eye on these storm tracks, while this one may have made a slight turn south in the 12 hours prior to land fall, it was known to be a very dangerous storm 48 hours before landfall.
I expect the WD could make at least 20 knotts.
Do the Math.
To make the decision to put her in Big Creek is one thing, to moor her there with a full compliment of pax is quite another.
Jason-was the WD a jones act vessel? I expect she was not, probably under some flag of convinience.
To me, as in my opinion, It looks like commercial decisions may have played too big a role in this horrible situation.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 12:45 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

One of the things I read today that was very interesting is that Iris was only 14 miles in diameter. Placencia was all but wiped out while Dangrega was not damaged at all. This was a very small very intense storm, it would appear that the very small shift South is what caught this boat. It also seems the Wave Dancer caught a fluke wave/conditions causing the accident. I have not been convinced the boat captain did anything wrong.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 12:52 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Dave,
I absolutely refuse to place myself in the postion to second guess the crew or master of this vessel.what ever flag she flew under... They had all the information (crew, passanger, boat conditions etc)to make the decisions they did.. My understanding is that the tried to debark passangers but we prevented by local authorities..Now the majority of the crew remains with the horrible awareness that they have to live with this the rest of their lives. As a note supporting their decision.. there was an agressor riding out the storm at the same location.. she made it.. so they leads support to validity of the decision made by her master... It is simply a horrible tragedy..period..

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:07 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

well, we all have our opinions, I respect all of those here. Time may tell what really happened.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:11 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Reuters is reporting that a tug boat may have rammed the Wave Dancer which would explain alot. Here's a link for more photos, warning very depressing Link

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Reem on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:29 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Several other vessels rode out the storm safely in the same place so the basic choice sounds proper. The reports that lines snapped under strain (from the vessel rising with surge--see Wayne Hasson's comment about A slacking her lines) could indicate slowness on the part of the crew and/or a very difficult decision on their part: if WD was upwind and/or upsurge from the pier then slacking the lines risks WD riding over the pier and having her back broken. One report (at least) talked to just about that. Many small boats tied up during storms are damaged that way, either on permanent docks or from coming down on the pilings supporting floating docks. Being upsurge/upwind is being between a rock and a hard place for the skipper. And the luck of the draw here with an erratic storm path. It would have been better to have everyone topside with PFD's, for conservative risk management. All this is why larger ships will go to sea in the face of a hurricane rather than stay in port: at sea they can maneuver w/o hard objects nearby. Or go to a hurricane anchorage as we did for my one hurricane.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Gassert on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:42 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Jason...good points. I'm absolutely positively certain that my small mind would have said, as I donned my 'fad' BCD - Barry, do you really want to be horizontal on the surface? Guess I'll have to put that in my list of things of 'what not to do' in the event of emergency.

It's difficult to avoid Monday morning quarterbacking, but I know everyone meant well - I don't believe finding fault, but trying to understand the situation and lend ideas or possibilities.

It's discussions like this that may actually save a life or two or more in the future.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kelly on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:48 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

This thread is beginning to sound entirely too much like the Rodale's message board. As Jason said, the Master of the Wave Dancer had a decision to make, whether it was right or wrong we will NEVER know because we were not there and we did face his set of circumstances.

A Board of Inquiry will convene and determine what they assume to be the proximate cause of the accident, and none of this will bring back those who lives were lost.

I strongly suggest we respect the friends and family and let this topic quietly end.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Gassert on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:51 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry forgot this: Jason and everyone else with TSF pink cards (wet or dry)...

I vow that if we ever meet face to face and you present any number of cards to me, I'll buy. Actually, all you have to say is that you have a card and I'll buy.

There's a better chance of that happening, than TSF reopening - unless somebody out there buys the licenses, operation processes and opens it....:)

I used to tell people to staple their card and a $10 bill to their passports so that they always had money to buy a hoagie and could get their card punched.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Baker on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 1:54 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

When reading the report of the survivor from link above, I was astounded to here that after the boat "surged" a call came out to put on life preservers. Now I also don't want to second guess but I think I might have wanted to have mine on anyway. If I am ever in a similar situation in the future I believe that I will think back on this discussion. As one who almost never wears a seat belt, I probably would not have had my pfd on either.

Barry Baker

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 2:21 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry Kelly, I can't see how this disrespects the dead. I do agree that none of us really know what we are talking about until the facts are in, if ever.
I totally agree with Barry that this discussion may serve some good by creating some awareness of other options.

Glen's comment of PFD's. as an example.

Now I wonder how frayed those hausers were?
How experienced the crew. Did they know how much scope and slack to play out? Wx fax working? Did she even have one. Could they interprete the implications of baro contours?
If I lost a loved one these are just a few of the questions I would be asking. Many of these scows are a disaster waiting to happen.Liveaboards are racking up a pretty shabby safety record.

Indifference to me is the highest form of disrespect. My opinion, thought thats what a discussion board is all about.
I can respect your opinion, but I don't have to agree or abide with it.
Regards.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 2:57 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

TSF pink card?

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 5:22 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Dave,
just a bit for knowledge for you... Kelly is a retired Coast Guard Commander (with cutterman insignia) of all the people I know of here..he is the ONLY one with a right to his opinion.. He has actually ridden out Hurricaines.. and dragged the bodies out of the water of those who didn't.. He finished his career as with their Marine Safety Office.. you might want to listen to his opinion because he also carries eligibility for Master all tonnage all waters all power..

Glen's option with PFDs is actually, in my opinion, close to suicide if you are ever in that situition.. Unless you have full harness, the last place you want to be is on deck in anything above 50 mph (full gale) cat 4?? the flying debris will kill you.. PERIOD. But Glenn you are right.. EVERYONE who finds themselves in similar maritime situation should done a PFD..

The fact the so many of the crew survived is actually a testament to the fact they were at station. above decks...

Comments about scows are a dis-service to the dead crew and Peter Hughes. Wave Dancer was anything BUT a scow.. Like Kelly said for those who want to assign blame.. there will be a court of inquiry .. Crew Training. Peter has some of the highest standards.. they made a gamble. hell in face of a cat 4 LIFE IS A GAMBLE. only the master can answer why he did what he did..he made a call.. for the agressor it was right for the wave dancer...

Of interest there have been two different data points considering a tug that broke loose in the area of the wave dancer...

barry, thanks!! and I still have no problem with the discussion you started.. for people who spend so much time under the sea.. alot of us don'tr really understand how to survive above

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ellen Kinsler on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 6:02 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

As a member of the Richmond Dive Club and personally knowing all of the divers that died, I can tell you that it is a tragedy. We do not know for a fact yet what happened and are awaiting the return of the passengers of the other boat (Belize Aggressor) and the 3 that survived the Wave Dancer accident. Rumors are flying and you can check the richmonddiveclub.com website for additional information as well as the news articles that are appearing in our local newspaper www.timesdispatch.com or feel free to e-mail me at ekinsler@diveexpressions.com. All of your prayers are being heard. I am a silent webcam viewer, but a lover of Bonaire and look to our return with 12 divers in January. Thanks in advance for you kind thoughts.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin de Weger on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 6:12 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, I wish you and your fellow members will find the strength to overcome this terrible time. Try to help each other out in every possible way. Our thoughts are with you all.

Martin

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cecil Berry on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 6:18 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, I'm very sorry for your losses and my condolances and prayers go out to the families. On my way home from work I listened to a great story on NPR about this incident. Some of the highlights was an explanation of the diving community and how dependant divers are on one another. The other part was on your club president, he was quite a card and will be sorely missed. I loved the stories about his sense of humor, the one about stealing someone's fins underwater was to funny. I tried to find a link to the story but they just played it and it's not in their archives yet, I'll check later.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Carole Baker on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 6:29 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, please accept our deepest condolences on this loss of your friends and loved ones. This is such an unexpected tragedy. Please let us know if there is anything any of us on the BT board can do to help in any way. May you and the members of your Club find strength and solice within each other. Carole

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Reem on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 7:46 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Jason is correct about my 'topside' (i.e., outside) comment. After posting I realized I meant to say 'on an upper deck rather than below decks in a stateroom'. Inside with PFD but not vulnerable below. 'In between the devil (wind) and the deep blue sea.'

Ellen, I am not good at expressing sadness--hope you guys there in the west of VA hang in.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cynde Lee on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 8:09 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, my thoughts are with you and those family's who have lost thier loved ones. It is just so tragic. If there is anything we can do, you can count on us.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Gassert on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:42 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen...I too am not good for expressing sadness. I normally look to the other side - the Ying and the Yang - sadness/goodness.

I tend to believe that a 'passing' of a loved one or someone we knew becomes a sign of awareness of our surroundings and of those people that share in that common grief.

I tend to believe that a 'passing' brings us closer to each other and stengthens us more than it weakens us.

I tend to believe that a 'passing' makes us stronger in our souls and we become a little better in our daily lives.

I tend to believe that those who have 'passed' are in a better place because they left their goodness behind for others to appreciate and to learn by.

I tend to believe that there is a purpose for all passings and that we should learn to love and become more aware of the good we have in our lives.

I tend to believe that our lost 'friends' are looking down at what they have left in life, and I want them to know that their lives were worth the effort they put into it by me being a better person because of them.

I thank them for that.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Meryl Virga on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 11:07 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen...sorry for your loss and shocked at the story...living near the ocean for most of my life we know when to get out of the water.We may be stuborn enough to stay put at home,But with a storm of that magnitude approching I do not understand why people stayed on the boat..live aboard or not...I would think that even a hotel lobby or such would have been the recommendation of the dive charter. The surge is the worst part of the storm...that is what we have always been told. And that is an unpredictable event. A boat in a "safe harbor" to me is still no place to be in a catagory 4 Hurricane. My heart goes out to you and your friends.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 9:23 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

ok Jason, I don't come here to engage in flame wars. I have a very high regard for the USCG, hence a high degree of respect for Kelly's service and rank attained.
The "right of opinion" comment makes no sense to me tho. I do "listen" to his opinion as all others and have stated that. I had no idea of his service and will give his opinions on these type matters more weight but the fact remains a lot of people died in this country to protect our right to express an opinion, if my opinion is foolish to you, well then so be it.

However, I never said the WD was a scow, but I can see how it might read that way. I would hope we can agree that the liveaboard industry world wide is racking up a pretty shabby safety record, that was my intent with "many of these scows" "these" meaning liveaboards not the WD.

Further, the fact that one boat survived while one went down therefore means that the decision was correct passes no test of logic.
If I go first in a game of russian roulette then pass the gun to you, does that make it safe?

An unlimited masters ticket makes one the ultimate authority to formulate an opinion? Sorry, but cappy hazelwood held one of those too.
What might be more germaine to that issue is how many liveaboards one has seen first hand in a variety of locations around the world.
That is the basis of my opinion, and my opinion is this: the only boat I feel safe to sleep on is mine own.
Your stinger line of "not knowing how to survive above the water" I guess I can agree with, I live on the water have racked up well over 100,000 miles of traverse by sail and power, I have a deep respect for the sea, I may be the only guy in FL with two full Mustang floaters, one of the few with an epirb, vhf & side band-on a 28'boat.

That is the basis of my feeling that the "facts" as we know them seem odd, to me.

Board findings will be one thing, the hard questions I suspect will be asked in a Dade County court room.

Last post on this topic-have a good day.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 11:11 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

David,
You are absolutely right I miss stated.. Kelly is not the only one in the whole wide world who has a right to his opinion in this matter.. He is one of maybe a hundred or so who was warranted in the US to make a determination as to cause in such accidents.
Exxon Valdez was a property damage situation and kind of apples and oranges.
Your statement on scows may not have single out WD but it certainly was certainly present in a context after questioning WD crew compentency that implied sucj..I again will stand up behind the integrity and competency of the Peter Hughes organization
The fact that the Belize Aggressor did survive does pass the test of logic...it, and the survivial of several other vessels, shows that such an event at tha location was in fact possible, thus the issue is with the individual vessel, and like you said it will be investigated. FYI, you analogy of the the pistol deals with probability not logic..the logic in that situation would be that the probablility for me would be far worse then yours..
You took my stinger line out of context and misquoted it.. it was (with poor typing and all) "alot of us don'tr really understand how to survive above" . I too live aboard and have done so for over 30 years so I am impressed by your 100,000 logged miles.. (It beats a lot of my friends who run tankers..). and sleep well with others in charge and other's boat.. (except during gales and sail changes).
.please also note i said US.. I am the first to admit I do not know with any certainity how to survive a cat 3/4 or 5 outside of booking a flight for iowa. I have seen the damage of a cat 4/5 having been part of the navy recovery team for charleston SC and have had my butt kicked enough in the atlantic to say duhhhh..

Glen... sorry to snap at you.. and yes your revised post makes good sense..and that's is a point that we all should take away.. on the water your PFD is your friend... I think some points in this thread might help water travelers to be more aware of safety issues


To RDC people... I apologize for this posting.. I did so in the spirit of Barry's post and in defense of an industry I think is inherently sound and an operation, Peter Hughes, which is certainly sage and sound. A couple of bad instructors does not make Scuba Unsafe, a couple of bad cruise boats does not make cruising unsafe..etc

. I hope all of you down the pike know that the hearts of all of us in the Sea Ventures family are with you as we had friends among your numbers

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By PJ Baker on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 2:06 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

In sad times, sometimes its good to tell an amusing story. About five years ago I was doing some dive research on an island owned by the Wildlife Conservation Society off southern Belize. It was a great island that one could walk the perimeter in about 20 minutes. On one side of the island was the lagoon and on the other side of the island was an incredible sloping reef to a wall about 150 yards off shore. Anyways, we were sharing the island with a few ichthyiologists from a college in New England. As a side project, the BBC was offering money for anyone that could videotape the spawning of the nassau groupers, as it has never been videotaped before. The spot where the big groupers were believed to congregate was at the "elbow" of the lagoon in pretty heavy currents. The spot was a couple of miles from the island and we only had a skiff, so it didn't look good. When one day, the WaveDancer anchored near the wall in front of the island. Jack, the head ichthyiologist, took the skiff out to the WaveDancer and told them of the spawning of the groupers. He convinced the divers on board (who, incidentally only had that afternoon before they headed back home) that this was not a sight to miss as few have ever seen the spawning. Of course, with everyone owning cameras they eagerly said yes lets go. What Jack failed to mention was that this was far from a guarantee that we would even find the groupers (thus, the award from the BBC). So Jack came back to get the rest of us researcher on the island (7 of us) and took us out to the boat. I asked him if he told them that we weren't even sure if we could find the groupers, he said he failed to mention that fact. On the way to the elbow, you could hear the excitement in the divers on the chance to see such a rare thing. After we traveled to the "elbow", Jack puts on a mask and snorkel and gets towed behind the boat looking for the groupers. After a while, the divers were becoming sceptical. Finally, Jack says he can't find the fish but we may as well get in here. The bad news is we had hoped to find hundreds of groupers and instead found heavy currents. The good news is that the area still contained 20 to 30 large groupers and dozens of lobsters. I was running the videotape and had some excellent footage but no spawning. As many of the divers were returning to the boat, I could hear a few choice words. I felt terribe, but I was merely a student and really couldn't have done anything about it. For about half the trip back we sat in isolation. However, we all know that divers are good folk and soon after were gathered around us offering us beer and laughing about the whole thing. Afterall, we all saw more groupers in one area than anyone of us had seen before. I always wanted to go back and travel on the WaveDancer...

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Sweeney on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:03 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

There may be a discrepancy. The first message in this thread was a news story. It quoted Patricia Rose, spokeswoman for Peter Rose Diving in Miami, as saying, "Belize City was evacuated so we could not put the guests in a hotel. We were forced to keep them on the boat." I understand that to be from foxnews.com and also that it was breaking news, perhaps under stress.

Another message in this thread says, "My understanding is that the(y) tried to debark passangers(sic) but we(re) prevented by local authorities"

However, today in Cleveland's The Plain Dealer the following National News Brief appeared:

"PLACENCIA, BELIZE

20 on big yacht die in hurricane party

The mayor of the small Belizean village where a boat chartered by Virginians was docked had pleaded with the members of the Richmond Dive Club and the yacht's crew to accompany him to safety before Hurricane Iris capsized the boat and killed as many as 20 people, government officials said Wednesday. The Wave Dancer, owned by Peter Hughes Diving Inc. of Miami, had sought refuge in a lagoon before the hurricane hit. The storm changed its forecast course and rumbled through Placencia Village on Monday night with winds nearing 200 mph. Government sources and maritime investigators looking into the accident said Wednesday that most of those on the boat declined to leave as they shared dinner and drinks in an impromptu hurricane party."

I feel for the families of the victims. I also sympathise with the plight of the Belizeans who have lost their homes. I would not agree, however, with anyone who proposes to "put this story behind us" before some more non-contradictory information is made public.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Sarah on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 10:29 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Ellen, our deepest sympathies to all.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Reem on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 10:55 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

One of the links given abova also had a similar comment on refusal to leave the boat.

Both things could be true if they happened at different times: a refusal to leave when others were evacuated, followed later by a lack of transportation after the general evac, and perhaps more imminent danger of the peak of the storm arriving, making it dangerous to move. 'Time and the tide wait for no man.'

I hope an impartial, careful evaluation is done and published for all to learn from, to reinforce old lessons really.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Sweeney on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 10:46 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Glen,

Yes, the customers may have wanted, or decided, or voted to remain onboard until it was too late to leave. I was more concerned with whether local authorities did anything to stop them from going ashore. Regarding the wonderful people reading and writing to this Bonaire Talk, I just don't care about whether their grief is somehow hampered by the words that are posted here. If it is I'm sorry for them but I'm just so angry. I keep thinking I could have been on that trip.

First, you and I were not there and obviously have no first-hand knowledge upon which to base judgments. Nevertheless, what we can do is compare the post-storm words of those who were there (or have received first-hand reports) with our own sense of right and wrong. Do the survivors exhibit a consciousness of guilt or innocence? Peter Hughes's spokesperson was in spin control mode from day one: "I'm not aware of anything that could have been done differently that was foreseeable." Of course not. Besides the fact not very much at all is foreseeable when one is coping with tropical storms, to speak of alternatives would be too confusing, and not as clear-cut or as black and white. We all know they should not admit negligence if, in their hearts, they do not believe it. But to completely deny the possibility of innocent mistakes or errors, is, given human nature, not very believable. If the company did no wrong, why not be candid and truthful about it?

Second, the Peter Hughes spokesperson said Belize City hotels had evacuated and as a result, "We were forced to keep (the passengers) on the boat." This is not credible. Who can believe Belizean officials, perhaps more knowlegeable about hurricanes than anyone, would have pointed a gun at or instructed anyone to remain on a boat when the whole city was being evacuated? Does this mean local authorities are to blame since the decision was not made by the Wave Dancer captain? Are we being asked to believe the Wave Dancer crew couldn't get their vehicles they use every week and drive everyone uphill to Belmopan? An hour or two away... Instead they sail all the way down to the Placencia/Big Creek Lagoon, where a village mayor reportedly pleads with them to GET OFF THE BOAT. That might have been something different they could have done, do you think? Also, have we heard anything from Peter Hughes, himself? Somehow news reporters gained access right away to Wayne Hasson, co-owner of the Belize Aggressor.

Take note: no one else in the entire country was killed by this storm! But for the victims' families it was just a tragic accident, so sorry, hope you'll come diving with us real soon.

I'd say there're more than a few old and new lessons we need to learn from this one. I hope the families of the victims will find closure some day, in some way.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Sweeney on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 11:25 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Some more information: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40557-2001Oct10.html

"U.S. officials said one crew member -- a Belize native -- left the boat and survived."

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ellen Kinsler on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 5:25 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

For those of you that are interested, the folks were asked to leave the boat, but chose not to. Not out of negligence, but the survivors said the weather was not that rough. Some occassional rain and wind, but mainly calm due to where they were moored. They felt safe. The ropes on the mooring broke lose causing the Wave Dancer to slide into the Aggressor. Then one huge wave. It toppled the Wave Dancer over and in a few seconds, it was under water. It is amazing that anyone survived. The darkness and diesel fuel added to the inability for most to survive. By listening to the survivors, it sounded much like the wave that hit Bonaire several years ago. What you should know is that little was done by Belize to assist in the body recovery. Our own divers that were on the Aggressor, had to do the body recovery. It was a grusome scenerio: one that they will never forget. I would have thought that Peter Hughes would have made a concerted effort to send a chartered plane to get the survivors back to Richmond instead of making them wait days to get back on their own. To date, the bodies have still not returned to their families, although the memorial services have begun. The only fault, if there is any, is that nothing was done to help the survivors until they returned to Richmond. DAN was great and has been working with the Belizean Gov't to get the bodies back here. If you never thought you needed DAN, think again.
There is no blame, only sadness. This was not a diving accident, but a freak thing that occurred. So Kiss your kids, hug your better half and remember to say a kind word or two to a friend. Next time your dog or cat needs a pat on the head, do it. You or your friends may not be here tomorrow. When you lose 17 friends over night, you realize that life it really short.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cynde Lee on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 5:58 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, thank you for posting this. It is difficult to decipher what really happened by the reports. How horrible to have to do S&R yourself...to find your friends. It must just be devastating.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Josie on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 9:11 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, thank you for your posting. This is the type of thing I remember when I'm mad at my husband and I'm not going to talk to him again until he apologizes. Then, I realize I don't need an apology, give him a hug first (and then he generally apologises anyway!). The little things I can get upset about don't mean a hoot compared to those things that are really important. Thanks for your reminder.
Josie

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Gassert on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 9:55 pm:     Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen...thank you for your strength in telling us the complete story. That must have been very difficult.

My prayers are with the families and friends of all that passed.

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Linda on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 1:40 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Ellen, My sympathies are with you, and all the families and friends. I read your report just before bed. It made me shake and brought tears to my eyes. I patted my dog, and went upstairs and kissed my sleeping daughter, son, and husband. Tomorrow, I will not take for granted my mother, family, and good friends. Thank you for sharing in your time of grief. Blessings to you and your family. Linda

 

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Scott on Wednesday, November 7, 2001 - 11:16 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

http://www.cyberdiver.net/cdnn/wavedancer/wavedancer.html

 


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