AIDA freedivers, I would like to update you on AIDA’s activities following the fatal accident of diver Nicholas Mevoli at last November’s Vertical Blue competition. This was the first fatality at an AIDA competition since our founding over 20 years ago, and we are working hard to learn all we can to prevent serious accidents in the future.
As you may know, AIDA asked a team of medical experts to review the evidence relating to the accident, to identify factors that contributed to the accident, and to make suggestions as to how to mitigate such factors in the future. This team completed their review of the evidence in January (other than autopsy reports, which had not yet arrived), and reported their findings to the AIDA Board; AIDA Board then delivered those findings to the AIDA Assembly on 31th of January. Once the autopsy reports are received, the medical experts will review them and update their findings.
The AIDA Board has also commenced a multi-part safety enhancement program to make changes based on what we have learned from the accident. The first part of this project will address changes to the AIDA Competition Rules and safety guidelines. The second part will address changes to the AIDA education system, to help students better understand the dangers from squeezes, and from “goal oriented” freediving. The third part will be the implementation of a web-based Incident Reporting System, which will allow AIDA to monitor major and minor accidents, and work proactively to prevent address patterns of problems. A fourth part will be medical research into squeezes and freediving funded by AIDA, and by Professor Erika Schagatay (an expert in this area).
I will report back to you this spring on our progress on this important program. I hope to have key parts in place by the time diving season starts in the Northern hemisphere summer.
President, AIDA International