Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ismail Marzouk

"There is no language that can help us to explain what is in our heart or how painful it is to write our memories about our great brother, friend and son Ismail.
But it does help to tell what comes into your mind and remember it's all for Aisha and her future brother or sister so they can know how their father is loved through our eyes..write..write till they can write back" Says his father in September 19, 2011

Ismail Marzouk
Ismail Marzouk, one of Egypt’s leading technical diving instructors, has died on the 2nd of Augest, 2011 in Daedalus, during a wreck dive. He was 32. His body was never recovered.
As a young Cairo law student, Ismail was active with the socialist movement, before moving to the Red Sea where he worked in eco-tourism, learned diving and quickly became one of the most prominent IANTD instructors in the Red Sea. His hospitality, sense of humor were unmatched. His home in Hurghada. Ismail, who passionately supported the revolution, has also been active in the ongoing efforts to unionize Egypt’s divers.
For many, Ismail’s death is still a mystery and although we will never really know, I researched his death and I think I found the most plausible scenario as to what happened. I have his dive plan and I have been in touch with one of the divers who were with Ismail on his last dive, Ismail’s GUE, TDI, IANTD and PADI instructors, a general practitioner and a hyperbaric doctor.Says his wife

Ismail and the 25th of January Revolution - By/Carlos Latuff  https://www.facebook.com/CarllosLatuff

underwater cave diving
chilling out after diving day
pre - dive briefing
during a wreck dive
What follows is an account of the accident. For people who don’t need to know these details, scroll down and see the “in conclusion”.

August 2nd, there was a technical dive scheduled at Daedalus. The plan was to descend to 80 meters, Ismail would show the other three divers where to go, they would descend to a wreck at 95 meters, Ismail would ascend to 60, to overview the dive site. After the three others would have ascended to 60 meters, all 4 divers would join up and finish the ascend together.

Once descended to 80 meters, Ismail swam fast, looking for where the divers should go. After about 10 minutes he shone his light to what seemed to be the wreck. The 3 divers descended, Ismail ascended. What appeared to be the wreck turned out to be a massive rock in the reef. So the divers aborted their dive to save deco time. When they were at 70 meters the diver I spoke to heard Ismail banging his tank. The diver looked around, but didn’t see him. When he looked back at the reef, he was face to face with Ismail. This was 20 or 30 seconds after he heard the banging.

Ismail was without his mask and regulator, he was rigid and not breathing, but somehow, Ismail reached for the diver. The diver tried to give Ismail the regulator from his side cylinder, by purching the regulator against Ismail’s teeth. The other two divers saw what was happening, approached Ismail from the back and tried to put Ismail’s own regulator in his mouth. Ismail’s jaw was locked, so they purched the regulator against his teeth, creating a free flow, trying to get Ismail to reach for the regulator and breath. But Ismail didn’t and then he went limp.

In this process the divers were descending, at 85 meters they hit a small sandy slope. Ismail wasn’t breathing, they stayed with him until Ismail showed all signs of passing away. The most experienced diver now felt the responsibility for the other two. British divers are trained to leave a body for immediate retrieval by a search and rescue team. The ascend would still take at least 80 minutes and he was with two very traumatized buddies. The divers tucked Ismail’s body against and into the reef for immediate retrieval as well as they could and ascended.

Of course, in Egypt, there is no search and rescue team. In my personal opinion, from the moment these divers reached the surface, boat crew, company staff and Egyptian authorities have acted as incompetent as I have learned the meaning of incompetence in Egypt. It hurts more than I can say, because to me it means that Ismail was not given the respect he deserved a human being and a guru diver.

Nevertheless, I spoke to a friend of Ismail, somebody I knew who is able to do search and rescue operations and who has executed several of these operations. He convinced me that even if communications had been proper from the moment the divers came up, recovering the body would have been too risky. It would have taken 24 hours to have an equipped boat with equipped, trained search and rescue divers at the assumed location of Ismail’s body. By this time, most likely (night)currents would have taken Ismail’s body and/or sharks would have been around. Without knowing the exact location of Ismail’s body, and without his body being fixated (for instance by ropes) a search operation was estimated to be too dangerous.

In conclusion, most likely, Ismail suffered from oxygen toxicity caused by overexertion at depth which lead to a “grand mal” attack (this would explain how he could still reach for the diver while he had already stopped breathing or, as was implied in internet discussions, how he would have “fought” with the divers. He wasn’t really reaching, he wasn’t fighting, he was suffering and epileptic fit).  

It means that Ismail didn’t know he died. Most probably he felt something that could be symptoms of oxygen toxicity, banged his tank and then became unconscious seconds after that. When Ismail and I used to talk about it, he would tell me that if something would ever happen to him in a dive, he would want to be left at sea. So I have peace with that.

Maintaining his diving equipment

Ismail and his daughter Aisha
 Since he died, for me, living has turned into surviving. I miss Ismail in every breath, I miss him in every minute of Aisha’s life and in every movement of our baby. But to survive is a necessity. Aisha is a female copy of her father and a happy, strong, crazy little monkey who loves life. She is a water creature like Ismail, I am curious to meet our new baby.

March 28th his daughter Inci ("pearl") was born.
His wife says "She is healthy, strong and a small copy of Aisha and Ismail. He would have been so proud"
"Ismail, I am now a rescue diver. Since today. Thank you so much for giving me the will to do this. I will not leave a diver under the water. NEVER." Nadege Boinnard

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ismail,
    I hope you are fine and every thing is going well with you. we met together 3-4 years ago in Tondoba bay. I was learning diving with Yossry in Blue Heaven Holidays. Hope you remember :)

    wish all of luck to u