Don’t know if you noticed, but death surrounds us. Newspaper stories say traffic deaths are at their highest rate since 1990. Television bombards us with images of people being shot, mutilated or just blown apart in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. A commercial airliner crashes in Ukraine, killing 170. A coalmine collapses in West Virginia, snuffing out a dozen miners. No matter what we do, it seems we risk violent, bloody death every time we fly, drive, walk or snorkel.
Wait a second—snorkeling can get you killed? Can it ever: check over these accounts, drawn from the archives of The Maui News…
Aug. 20, 2006: Police find Joseph Dworak, 52, of McLean, Virginia, floating in the water 400 feet off the Ka`anapali Shores resort. The cause of death is pending.
Aug. 5, 2006: Walter Seifert, 74, of California collapsed aboard a tour boat immediately after snorkeling in the waters just off Molokini. After CPR failed to revive him at the Kihei boat ramp, paramedics took him to Maui Memorial, where doctors pronounced him dead.
May 3, 2006: Family members find Paul Slayton, 54, of Sacramento, California, floating dead off Koki Beach after he went snorkeling with them.
Feb. 23, 2006: At approximately 3 p.m., Anthony Moore, 45, of San Jose, California, heads into the water by himself at Makena Landing. A Maui Dive Shop boat crew and rescuers eventually find his body the next day off Five Graves. Though sharks have severely mauled the body, Maui County coroner Dr. Anthony Manoukian concludes that Moore likely died from a heart attack or drowning long before the sharks got to him.
Feb. 22, 2006: Shrivindu Mehta, 40, of New York City collapses on Wailea Beach after he’s helped to shore. His wife speculates that he swallowed a lot of seawater while snorkeling. He dies later that day at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Sept. 18, 2005: Rescuers find the body of Teresa Ann Dunnington, 52, of Silver Springs, Maryland, in an underwater cave at Black Rock in Ka`anapali after she disappeared while snorkeling with a friend. She had been underwater 20 minutes when they found her.
March 26, 2005: The body of Oscar Whitson, 47, of Sitka, Alaska washes ashore at the Ahini-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Whitson had been snorkeling with his teenage son and daughter earlier that day when he said he felt tired and attempted to swim to shore. MTW