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March 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Fatal Effects of “Rapture of the Deep”

and how drugs and reluctant divemasters may play a big part

from the March, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Last April, Jeff Sharp, a 64-year-old attorney from Modesto, CA, and his wife, Kathy Monday, went for a dive on the backside of Molokini, a partially submerged crater off the island of Maui, but for some reason, he made an uncontrolled ascent from around 200 feet deep. Why? We'll never know the true circumstances that led to this tragedy, but Sharp had been seen finning deeper than he should have been, so the suspected culprit is nitrogen narcosis.

First certified in 2012, Sharp had dived in the Hawaiian Islands before, but this was his and Monday's first time at Molokini. On this trip, they were part of a group of six to eight divers on a tourist dive boat, accompanied by two dive guides. Most of them descended to around 70 feet, and after a guide pointed out a group of sharks, Monday realized Sharp had disappeared from her view. She looked up to see if he'd had problems with his ears and had ascended but was shocked to discover moments later that he was swimming far below her....

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