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September 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 37, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Unexplained Snorkel Deaths in Hawaii

the same issue for scuba divers

from the September, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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For years, snorkeling in Hawaii has been the leading cause of tourist deaths. Snorkel-related drownings with no signs of distress have often been a mystery. A new study by the Hawaii State Department of Health offers some reasons.

According to the project director, Carol Wilcox, the study refutes the belief that snorkeling-related deaths are just from water inhalation. She said most snorkel-related fatal and near-fatal drownings are due to low levels of oxygen in body tissues prompted by excess fluid buildup in the lungs, otherwise known as hypoxia induced by rapid onset pulmonary edema, or ROPE. [Undercurrent has been writing about this problem in scuba divers, referring to it as swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE).]...

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