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August 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Tragic Accident Brings a Reminder for Safe Travel

from the August, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The traffic on Roatan's main road is notoriously heavy and dangerous. On the return drive to CoCo View after the shark dive, our lane of a two-lane highway was stopped for construction, but traffic in the other lane was moving fast. A nine-year-old boy darted into that traffic and was struck by a fast-moving motorcycle. What was so striking, sitting in our minibus and looking out the large windshield, was we all saw it coming a few seconds before the impact and started screaming. We jumped out to lend assistance, but it was chaos. I'm a cardiologist, not a trauma specialist, but I knew the child was probably dying. I tried to keep people from moving his neck around, but a local woman suddenly scooped up the child and ran off to the hospital, a block or two away.

The next morning I asked my divemaster, Gringo, for an update, and he said, "He's all right now, he went home from the hospital," which was his way of saying it was all over. I'm worried that my dive buddy, who was right there in the middle of the incident, may get PTSD out if this.

I write about this incident just to reiterate what Divers Alert Network says about divers being far more likely to get injured from motor vehicle or boating incidents than we are from diving. Motor vehicle travel in developing countries can be far more dangerous than in the U.S. The roads themselves are more dangerous. Drivers and pedestrians don't make the same decisions they would in the U.S., so you can't predict what they will do.

Pay careful attention if you are a pedestrian, and think twice about renting a car, bicycle or motor scooter for an afternoon adventure after diving.

-- D.D.

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