Underwater Exploration: Deadly Panic University of Wisconsin Sea Grant
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Deadly Panic

Like many activities, scuba diving can be risky. Health and safety depend on proper education, good equipment, and physical and psychological preparation. Scuba diving puts people in an inherently dangerous situation. Each year a small number of divers lose their lives while scuba diving - many while ignoring dive safety (limits guidelines). The Divers Alert Network has reported 2,853 fatalities in the United States in the last 30 years - an average of about 100 deaths per year. Currently there are at least 2 million active scuba divers in the United States.

A frequent cause of death while scuba diving appears to be from panic responses to stressful situations underwater. Panic behavior may also contribute to decompression sickness, because panicked divers may surface too quickly, not allowing time for proper decompression to prevent the bends.