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Jill Heinerth reflects on a dive that did not go well

From Audio: Staying Alive in the Underworld, Part Two: Jill Heinerth On A Life Diving the Deepest Caves On The Planet

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station description Scuba Diving, Free Diving, Ocean Environmentalism, Marine Science. Big Deep is abou... read more
Big Deep - An Ocean Podcast
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Duration: 03:34
From the Big Deep Podcast - this is a powerful reflection by Jill Heinerth about a challenging dive that almost ended in disaster.
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From the Big Deep Podcast - this is a powerful reflection by Jill Heinerth about a challenging dive that almost ended in disaster.
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this is of our planet. I've lost more than 100 friends throughout my career, these people have had cave diving and technical diving accidents and each time something like that happens, it causes me to reflect on what I do. But I always try to rule out why I wouldn't have made the same decisions or choices. But there's sometimes when things are out of your hands and there was one time I really thought I wasn't going to get home that day, it was a dive where I led a scientist into a very small cave and through the course of two dives earlier in the day, we had gotten to successively smaller and smaller parts of the cave and things have been going well. So I thought, okay, well we'll do one more cave dive into a very small restriction where we can get exactly what the scientist needs for her work. And when we passed through this last restriction and got the farthest in to our cave dive, it was time to turn around and in the process of turning around, my partner got snagged in the guideline and stuck and it was very alarming to her and she panicked and I remember reaching out and grabbing onto our we were in a space that was only just slightly taller than my helmet so my chest is pinned on the floor, my shoulder blades are pinned on the ceiling and I'm holding on to her and I'm squeezing her and trying to communicate, calm down. And I've got my other hand on the guideline which is becoming progressively tighter and tighter and tighter and self hating. It's not. So now I've got the bitter end of our safety line in one hand about her on the other you know they my life, I don't solve this for both of us then neither of us is going to make it home today. So through the course of dealing with this emergency I had to calm her down, move her laterally into a slightly larger part of the cave patch the guideline. And then at one point we were face to face and I was certain that I was pointing in the direction to go out of the cave but there she was face to face with me disoriented and thinking that she wanted to go the other way. I put the guideline that I just patched into her hand and then I put a little plastic arrow that indicates the way out on the guidelines so she could feel it. And then in the midst of that in the silt I lost her. But at that point I knew that I needed to stay and search thoroughly. Mhm. I only had one chance to make sure that I wasn't leaving her behind
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