Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Firefighter Suffers Brain Injury During Dive Training Exercise

 — Firefighter Danny Collins, 38, is home in Conway after being hospitalized in Shreveport, La., for a brain injury that occurred Sept. 22 during dive training in Hot Springs.
Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry said Collins suffered a brain embolism “and other things.”
“It was really touch and go for the first two days,” Castleberry said.
He said Collins and firefighters Jonathan Talley and Ty Ledbetter were taking part in a dive class at Lake Ouachita in about 20 feet of water and were doing “a grid search — they search in a pattern, a grid.”
Talley was on the bank, attached to Ledbetter, who was attached to Collins.
“Ledbetter noticed he was getting pulled on, so he went back and checked, and Danny was tangled up,” Castleberry said. “He helped [Collins] untangle, and they went to the surface. Danny immediately started having trouble, physically.”
Castleberry said Collins was first taken to a Hot Springs hospital.
He said the doctor on duty had been a physician in Florida and “had seen these types of injuries before.”
The doctor said Collins needed a hyperbaric chamber for brain injuries, and Collins was taken to Shreveport.
“He had to fly at a certain altitude, couldn’t fly high,” Castleberry said.
Castleberry said he and other firefighters visited Collins in the hospital. He said Brian Moix, division chief and training officer, stayed in Shreveport the entire time.
The chief said Collins could talk “in short periods.”
Castleberry said he couldn’t elaborate on Collins’ condition, but he said he doesn’t expect Collins to return to the Fire Department “for a while.”
Capt. Rick Powell, who was also with Collins in Shreveport, said, “He’s in good spirits. We’re looking forward to getting him back down here.”
Powell worked with Collins at Wilson Drews Central Fire Station in downtown Conway.
Collins is a driver, a bomb technician and a special-operations team member.
“He’s a good man; he’s seasoned,” Castleberry said. “He’s all-out fire department.”
Castleberry said because it was an on-the-job injury, the city will help with Collins’ expenses, as will a firefighters benevolent fund.
The Conway Fire Department’s special rescue team trains “all the time,” Castleberry Conway Firefighter Suffers Brain Injury During Training Exercise
By: KARK 4 News


Ten-year veteran Captain Danny Collins was working in 20 feet of water in Hot Springs yesterday when he became tangled in some rope. He signalled to his partner, but when they surfaced, Collins struggled to breath.

He was air lifted to Shreveport where they have a hyperbaric chamber and specialize in these types of brain injuries.
His wife and mom were at his side Sunday night. One of his best friends, a fellow firefighter, was on his way to the hopsital as of Sunday night as well. KARK will keep you updated on his recovery.

Ark. Firefighter Suffers Embolism During Dive Training


He was flown to a hospital in Shreveport, La. for treatment.
Firefighter Ty Ledbetter found that Collins had become tangled in his line and as the two men were attempting to fix the line, Collins began having problems breathing.
Fire Chief Bart Castleberry told the newspaper that he expects Collins to be in the ICU for about a week and spend time in a hyperbaric chamber for his injuries.
"It was a blessing that the doctor in Hot Springs had seen this kind of injury before and knew what to do," he said.

Collins was able to see his wife before being airlifted to the hospital and his family and a liaison from the fire department have joined him in Shreveport.
Firehouse.com will provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

LA Port Police Recover Movie Directors Body

Recovering Tony Scott's body all in a day's work for port's diving team
No one knew anything about the man quickly scaling the 10-foot fence that lines the edge of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, other than the fact he was intent on jumping Sunday afternoon.

Before officers could arrive to coax him down, emergency operators heard several 911 callers gasp in horror as British director Tony Scott - an avid mountain climber - leapt from the span's apex around 12:30 p.m. and plunged 185 feet into the murky water below.

Scott, the director of such blockbusters as "Top Gun," "Crimson Tide" and "Unstoppable," was already floating facedown by the time a motorcycle officer reached the bridge.
"It all went down very fast," said Lt. Michael Capodanno, who heads the Port of Los Angeles Police Department's maritime operations, which includes the dive team.

Officers with port police, the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol joined city firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard in searching for Scott, still unaware that the man who just jumped to his death had also directed some of Hollywood's most successful films.

The crew of a port police patrol boat arrived moments later and unsuccessfully tried to retrieve Scott as he sank into the port's Main Channel.

They quickly used GPS equipment to lock the coordinates of where the body was last seen as Los Angeles
Fire Department's dive team launched a rescue attempt. Scott wasn't found an hour later, moving the port police dive team into recovery mode.

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LAFD Members Receive Technical Dive Training

10 members of the LAFD Dive Team turned to Unified Team Diving (UTD), headquartered in Carlsbad California, for technical dive training.  Members received training in technical dive essentials, twin tanks, side-mount diving, and instructor development.  "This was a great opportunity to learn advanced skills and protocols" says dive team member Steve Meiche.  "The philosophy, critical skills, team concepts and situational awarness parallels with public safety diving.  "We as emergency response divers have much to learn from UTD's equipment configuration and protocols," Meiche continues.  

"I think taking these classes has made us all better divers" states back-up diver Jason Teter. 

About Unified Team Diving:
This is the first in a series of educational video's that will help public safety divers understand how they can benefit from Unified Team Diving training.

For more information about Unified Team Diving visit them at:

Jeff Seckendorff from UTD instructs Steve Meiche on long hose configuration

Twin back mount
Hani Jejjoni is fitted for a side-mount harness configuration by UTD instructor Dave Bentley

LAFD Pulls Driver From Submerged Vehicle

LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  A man who was pulled from a vehicle that plunged into the Los Angeles Harbor Saturday has died.
The crash was reported at 2:55 p.m. at the north side of Pier 300 near Navy Way at the Port of Los Angeles, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Louisa Hodge, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said the victim — who had been hospitalized in grave condition — died.

Hodge spoke to authorities who identified the man as a 25-year-old college student.
Witnesses told rescuers the car left a public roadway and plunged into about seven feet of murky water, landing upside down, Humphrey said.
Divers had to break into the vehicle underwater, “which is no easy task,” Humphrey said. He added the water was so murky rescuers had to use flashlights.
Officials believe there were no other occupants in the vehicle, Humphrey said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Firefighter of the Year

San Pedro Elks Club honored Fireboat Mate Dave Bender as the Firefighter of the Year.  Dave has been a member of the LAFD since 1983 and became a Mate 1991. Currently he assigned to Fire Station 110 "C" Platoon as a Supervisor Mate and is the dive team training coordinator.  Mate Bender has played a instrumental role in advancing the dive team to meet public safety NFPA standards.

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Cruise Ships Collide in Bermuda [VIDEO]

Public safety Diver offers perspective on Italy cruise ship rescue efforts

Fire Chief Steve Orusa is keeping a close eye on the rescue operations off the coast of Italy, where a cruise ship ran aground..
Besides heading up the fire department, Orusa is the director of the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists Response Team. He spoke with 24-Hour News 8's Jay Hermacinski about the dive operation off the coast of Italy.
"Because the ship is unstable, it is very dangerous,” he said, “there's entrapment hazards and debris that can move. Nothing is stable."
The diving veteran said dive teams face what are called penetration dives, meaning they have to get inside the underwater sections of the cruise ship. 
Orusa said that in itself creates a dangerous situation for the dive team.
"They can't get direct access to the surface,” he said. “So now, if something goes wrong, you can't just go to the surface to get a breath of air. You have to follow you line all the way out. So whatever problem you have in that aquatic environment, you have to solve it yourself because you don't have time to get a safety diver to you."
Monday, divers suspended rescue efforts because the vessel began to move.

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Amazing courage of Costa Concordia's rescue divers

Day after day, night after night, a team of brave rescue divers carry on with their mission, letting up only when bad weather prevents their search. Leonardo Cherici, 34, from Civitavecchia, has been there since the beginning. He recalled: “It was complete chaos. The thing I remember seeing first is just a mountain of chairs, all piled on to one side in the restaurant.

“You could barely see anything and our vision was being blocked constantly by the debris we were swimming through.

Cherici was the first diver to find two victims, two elderly men. He said: “They were next to each other by a muster station. That’s what hit me. They were so close to the lifeboats, so close to being saved. “We had to cut the life jackets off. If we don’t, it’s like trying to carry a balloon underwater. You try not to get emotional but it’s very difficult.

There is also, now, the added health risk of rotting bodies contaminating the waters. Visibility is just 50cm, at worst 10cm, with even the powerful torches they carry having trouble illuminating the bowels of the ship. Divers wear thermal long johns and T-shirts under their 5mm-thick anti-tear suits. Most dives take 40 minutes. The men have two torches on their helmets to help them pick their way through the corridors, restaurants, function rooms and 1,500 cabins.

Before they dive they are given a briefing and they take a laminated diagram of the target area they are to search.Their way inside the ship is via a series of holes blown into the submerged decks of the liner.
“The stench is unbearable for the divers. You have to remember this ship had just set sail on a week’s cruise with food for more than 4,000 and it is all now going off in the water.
“One of the guys told me some water went through his mask and the stench was unbearable. That’s why after the last few dives we had to disinfect their suits and them with sprays to make sure they are not exposing themselves to any bacteriological risks.

Looking at the Concordia as it lies on its side off Isola Del Giglio, Cherici said: “That ship carried 4,000 people. It was a floating village. It had just set sail for a week with food and provisions for that time and we were swimming through most of it. “I was swimming through carpets, curtains and tablecloths. One thing I remember is half-drunk wine bottles would come shooting towards us.

“They had been trapped under debris then became dislodged and because of the air inside them they would shoot to the surface like missiles and we had to dodge them.”

The divers are driven on by their determination not to leave anyone behind and the knowledge that grieving relatives are desperate to be reunited with loved ones.

Costa Concordia Recovery 'Dragging a dead body from the sea is something you never get used to'

Tasked with finding bodies aboard the Costa Concordia, a diver tells of life in the murky depths

"It's hard to explain how disorientating it is aboard something like the Costa Concordia," he said. "The vessel's tilted at nearly 90 degrees. Things are at the wrong angle; it's dark, and there bits of furniture, chairs, curtains and carpet and stuff moving around, and you never know what you're going to bump into or what's around the next corner. We have strong torches, but you still have to feel you way around."

Working in pairs, he and his 12-strong team worked their way through the ship's decks with all the divers connected to the surface by a cable, which they call the cord of Ariadne, after the cord the mythological figure gave to Theseus to help him escape from the maze of the Minotaur.
"That ship is huge. But the many of the actual spaces are very confined - the cabins and the stairwells. And all the time you're aware that the ship might move any time; you don't want to be trapped in there."
Yesterday morning the diving was called off after sensors showed that the ship had moved slightly but ominously on the rocky ledge just metres from Giglio's tiny port. "I wouldn't say that I was scared in there yesterday. But I'm always aware that it's a dangerous place to be."

Marshal Del Carro also was successful yesterday during his grim mission to find the bodies of those presumed dead aboard the stricken liner. He located five corpses, near one of the main restaurants, and assisted in pulling them from the water and on to a waiting vessel.

He said: "This isn't the first time I've done this. But dragging a dead person from the water is something you can never really get used to."

One of his diver colleagues, Rodolfo Raiteri, said he too had been affected by finding the dead tourists. "When you have dead people in front of you it's always shocking. You couldn't see a thing in that murky water and then we saw them; one, two, three; at the end we counted all five, flung there like puppets, all with orange life-jackets. Straight away you knew they were passengers."

Yesterday the divers were still waiting to see if they would be called on to re-enter the submerged decks of the wreck, to hunt for the remaining 28 passengers who were unaccounted for.

So far, five holes have been blown into the side of the liner to allow divers to explore the flooded areas more easily – and to escape more quickly if things go wrong. If the ship settles and shows no more signs of moving, three more blasts are planned.

"Things aren't looking good. But there maybe a few air pockets in there, and while there's the slightest chance of finding them alive we'll keep working," said Marshal Del Carro.