Friday, May 17, 2013

Canadian scuba diver dies in Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo -
For the second time in 90 days, a Canadian citizen has died while scuba diving one of this area's most well known cenotes, natural sinkholes which dot the local landscape. The accident occurred Thursday.

Martín Joseph Simard, whose hometown has not been reported, was diving cenote Chac Mool with a group of foreign tourists escorted by an experienced guide, according to the regional press. He experienced problems with his regulator and signaled the guide that he need to surface. By the time they did so Simard was choking and vomiting. First aid was applied and emergency help was summoned, but Simard was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

A local newspaper said Simard was about 50.

The guide was identified as 37 year old Alain Pocobelli, whose named is identified with a Playa website called CDT - Cave Diving Training Mexico.

Pocobelli appeared before the Public Ministry, equivalent to a magistrate's court, to give a preliminary statement of the events. An autopsy was ordered on the victim's body. A news service reported that Simard had an undisclosed medical condition which precluded scuba diving, but offered no facts to support its claims.

In April 2012 three people died while diving cenote Chac Mool. Those victims were a Brazilian husband and wife team and their Spanish guide, who was a certified master diver. They may have gotten lost in the cenote and run out of oxygen. A local paper called it a case bordering on "criminal negligence." Divers drown at Playa del Carmen cenote.

On Feb. 11 Bernard Reeves, 48, of Montreal died while diving Cenote Kalimba in nearby Tulum, Quintana Roo. It is unclear what caused that accident.

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