It was a routine dive for spearfisherman Ben Choi, but when he hit the surface he instantly blacked out as captured in first person by this terrifying video.
Choi posted about the experience in the video’s description, saying:
“I had my reservations about posting this video online. But after some encouragement from my close friends and dive buddies, I am posting this so that the spearfishing community can learn from this incident. The lesson I want people to take away from this video is that a black out can happen at any time. It doesn’t have to be a 100’ freedive. It doesn’t have to be a 2 min dive. It can happen on a routine dive that you’ve been doing all day. We all know the risks that are involved in our sport. The only way to mitigate these risks is to implement a good safety system with a buddy watching you every dive.
I never thought that a black out would happen to me. I always thought that I wasn’t diving deep or long enough for a black out. But the fact of the matter is, you never know when it’s going to happen. Thankfully, I had Sterling there to save me. He did exactly what a good dive buddy should in this situation and had my head out of the water in a matter of seconds. If he hadn’t been around me, and if we hadn’t been buddy diving, I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the story.”
Choi later on went on to say he posted the video in hopes that other divers would take note. Everything about a dive could seem perfectly natural, but could easily go wrong. In this particular case, Choi consulted with several freediving instructors and discovered that instead of purging his breath, he had been hyperventilating.
He elaborated that he hoped the video would help those in the spearfishing community realize just how easy a blackout can occur, and just how important a good buddy system can be for fellow divers.