Diving death in George Town

Update, 10:45am: The officer has been identified as Liverpool native Chris Devereux, who joined the RCIPS in May 2012.

A 54-year-old off duty RCIPS police officer has died after getting into difficulty while diving off Sunset House.

Just after 3.00pm today the officer had been shore diving with a colleague in the vicinity of the Mermaid when he got into difficulty and lost consciousness. His colleague brought him to the surface. Staff from Sunset House immediately assisted, brought him to shore and performed CPR. When the ambulance crew arrived they continued CPR while conveying the officer to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town. However, despite efforts of the dive staff and the paramedics he was pronounced dead on arrival.

A family liaison officer has been appointed by the RCIPS and efforts are being made to contact his next of kin.

Further updates will be provided when available.


  1. The most dangerous sport in my opinion.

    How many deaths have we had in just the last year to diving?
    Here and globally?

    How many deaths world wide for hang gliding, sky diving, bull riding, matadors, bomb disposal?
    I can tell you with certainty, a lot less than diving.

    It’s just a sport, that has such little room for error. I just don’t do it anymore. I would rather hang glide or sky dive, than diving. It’s just safer.

    Diving fatalities each year, 90 to 150 scuba deaths reported each year worldwide.

    Hang gliding Deaths: 7 in (2011) world wide

    sky diving 25 to 71 deaths per year world wide

    Diving is incredibly dangerous.

  2. This is just a generalization since all numbers are from different years:

    1 out of every 211,864 dives ending in a fatality does not seem so great a number when compared with the fatality rates of other activities. For example:
    1 out of every 5,555 of registered drivers in the US died in car accidents in 2008 (www.cenus.gov).
    1 out of every 7692 pregnant women died from pregnancy complications in 2004 (National Center for Health Statistics).
    1 out of every 116,666 skydives ended in a fatality in 2000 (United States Parachuting Association).
    1 out of every 126,626 marathon runners died of sudden cardiac arrest while running a marathon between 1975-2003 (National Safety Council)

    Statistically, diving is safer than driving, having a kid, skydiving, or running a marathon.

    Yet another study puts SCUBA risks right next to Table Tennis:

  3. Big Berd your insensitivity at a time like this is almost beyond belief. I’m also not too impressed by the Compass for deciding to publish your rant at a time when our thoughts should be with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.

    I’m not joining in this debate except to say that you clearly have a problem that needs attention.

  4. Berd, more people die on golf courses than die while scuba diving, and I agree with John Evans. While some of your comments are spot on, you’re sense of timing is a bit off.

  5. First my sincere condolences to his family.

    I have enjoyed SCUBA diving for some 30 years without harm to myself or a diving buddy.

    On the other hand I broke my arm 6 weeks ago having a tennis lesson!

    Any sport, especially SCUBA diving, can be dangerous and I recommend all divers to:

    Dive within your limits

    Have a backup air supply, such as Spare Air, so if the worst happens you can get to the surface safely without risks.

  6. @longtermresident –

    Bless your heart for the mention of Spare Air… As a ‘heavy breathing Virgo’ I’ve long wondered if my obsession with checking my gauge and air depletion was contributing to my sucking O2 faster… I’ve not gotten in the water for too long all things considered and while I dive safe, this is HUGE for me. Kudos thank you!

  7. My condolences also go out to the family. Anytime someone dies tragically it is a very sad time for the surviving family members. As for the debate of whether or not scuba diving is safe, it’s just like any other sport or hobby. You have to be smart about it. Dive within your limits. Follow proper safety protocol–make sure your gear is in good working order, make sure you monitor your depth/air supply (and BTW,long term resident, you do want to use AIR, not O2!)/no decompression limits, don’t perform a dive that is too strenuous for your physical condition, have regular physical check ups to be sure you are healthy enough to dive…That said, sometimes accidents still do happen, no matter what sport you’re participating in. I LOVE being underwater and couldn’t imagine giving it up just because someone says it’s dangerous. I have done over 6000 dives without incident, by the way!

  8. My sincere condolences to the family, As a police officer, he was clearly someone who was willing to stand up for the community and we cannot afford to lose people like that.

    I hope the discussion of ‘spare air devices’ does not cause them to question if things could have been different, it wouldn’t of helped in this instance.

    He did it right in diving with a Buddy and that is who brought him to the surface, the Buddies air tank IS your spare air.

    Spare air is really a re-branded military HEED (Helecopter Emergency Escape Device) and I would not recommend their use for diving. They have too little capacity to be of use in an emergency (either 1.7 or 3.0 cubic feet compared to a standard scuba tank at 80). Factor in adrenaline and you have maybe 5 breaths at 60 feet – you’re buying into a different problem NOT solving one.

    LifesABeach – if you are in a position where you feel a reserve air supply would help (and there is merit), you need a PONY bottle (20cf or a quarter of a standard tank) – hooks alongside your main air cylinder and has enough air for about 10 minutes.

    From the article it would appear that the incident was handled professionally, both by his dive buddy and the staff of Sunset.

  9. @Sonic
    With respect you must have a very competent dive buddy who is watching you closely throughout the dive.

    Or else you don’t dive or have never had an accident.

    I have been diving for 30 years plus. When BC auto-inflaters were a new-fangled idea. Nitrox and advanced certified.

    In real life your buddy can be 20 ft away when your gear fails. Maybe swimming away from you.
    So now you have to get to them and attract their attention.

    The Spare Air system is a complete replacement air unit. While the small one may only give you 5 breaths at 60 ft, you are going to head up immediately. And the shallower you get the more breaths remain in your little tank.

    Your buddy will find out soon enough you are missing, I hope, and you should have already discussed that either of you should surface in an emergency.

    Carry an inflatable long red ‘wand’ to signal your problem and head for the boat or shore.

  10. @LongTermResident

    I ABSOLUTELY agree that having an attentive and competent buddy is ESSENTIAL. If you can’t find one, Hire one!

    He did it right in diving with a Buddy and that is who brought him to the surface,
    the Buddies air tank IS your spare air.

    I am a professional dive instructor and I would remind you that a 3 minute stop is recommended for every dive – get used to sticking closer to your buddy rather than relying on a gimmick like the spare air – it gives a false sense of security and is of little practical use.

    A safe ascent is slower than 1ft per second so from 60ft that is at least a minute to surface, 5 breaths starts to sound a little meagre, at 100 it’s not happening…

    If your car runs out of gas, you want a full steel 1 or 2 gallon can in the trunk/boot not a pint in an old soda bottle.

    Hence, the pony rig.
    Enough air to surface SLOWLY – follow protocol and search for a minute, re-unite if possible, and then surface. Remember it’s not just about you, your buddy could get into difficulties and if you’ve already bailed to the surface without signalling, who’s there to help them?

    Talk to a few scuba professionals if you don’t understand the difference between a ‘SpareAir’ and a proper redundant air supply.

    My biggest tip for improving air consumption is to see about doing a Peak Performance Bouyancy course – either on its own or as part of the Advanced course.
    Diving Overweighted has a pretty direct correlation to higher air consumption.

    You will also find your air consumption will improve as a result of doing more diving.

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