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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emergency Plans On Diana Nyad's Cuban Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

This was an actual discussion that Luke Tipple and Steven Munatones had with the crew aboard the Voyager during Diana Nyad's attempted swim from Cuba to Florida.

Situation: Dire and foreboding as a squall was heading closer to Nyad and her crew

Time: Late at night

Position: 40 miles from Havana, 60 miles from Key West in the Caribbean Sea

Personnel: 60 people were distributed on 5 different boats in a 1 km radius.

Problems: 3 kayakers were in the water along with Nyad. Sharks were lurking below and box jellyfish were floating on the surface about so bright (white) lights were not advisable to use; red filtered light was used. Winds were howling and lightening strikes were seen 360 degrees around the 5-boat flotilla.

Conversation: So what do we do? What happens if the escort boat goes under?

Tipple: "We gotta get everyone out of the water and into the boats. If the boat sinks, we grab anything that floats and count off. Grab water and the flares. Make sure everyone gets together, holding hands in a circle. If only one boat sinks, get everyone on the other boats. Bring the boats in closer. The captain, the pilot and Mark Sollinger will stay on the [Voyager] boat and continue to use the pumps to get the water out."

Fortunately, the problems with the escort boat were isolated and everyone on the water eventually returned to shore safely.

Watch Nyad Ends Marathon Cuba-Florida Swim, Endures Storms on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Photo by Christi Barli.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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