On October 26 at 9:00pm, CBC television will present a documentary on Canadian conservationist Rob Stewart and his dive partner Peter Sotis. This will air on the television program Docs. Rob Stewart died after his third dive in Key Largo in the Florida Keys while filming sawfish sharks, and his death was attributed to hypoxia. Hypoxia, aka brain damage can begin within a minute or two of total oxygen deprivation. At the five-minute mark, death of brain cells — and the severe brain damage that accompanies it, becomes inevitable. Most people will die within 10 minutes of total oxygen deprivation. Rob’s dive partner Peter Sotis survived.
Stewart was new to rebreathers, and had just finished his rebreather tri-mix course in late January 2017. Rebreathers allow a diver to go deeper and remain at a maximum depth longer with less decompression time than other technical diving rigs. Rebreathers are perfect for underwater photographers who wish longer bottom times for filming.
Conditions were perfect that day for the dive. There was a 10-to-12-knot breeze and the ocean had a mellow swell of 1-to-3 feet. The depth of the dive was 230 feet and it was the third dive that proved fatal for Rob.
Stewart was born in Toronto and studied biology at the University of Western Ontario, and traveled whenever he could. He became a formidable photographer and cameraman, and eventually landed in Los Angeles, California.
Steve Lewis says one or two dives should be the maximum, so why did they go on a third dive? There is a lot that doesn’t add up about this accident and The Third Dive wants answers.
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More on Steve Lewis: https://ca.thescubanews.com/2018/09/24/books-death-in-number-two-shaft-a-true-life-underwater-adventure/