I went on a liveaboard trip to Komodo as a travel agent to test out the product to see if we can add their packages to our product range.
It was a 7-day trip, and on day three a very bad accident happened, and the company hasn’t taken any responsibility up to date. This guy, Alex, who works for my “friend“ Paul, (“friend”, who happens to be the owner of the company) took us on the dive. There were six divers on board, plus the boat crew, one instructor and one divemaster.
The instructor apparently had lots of experience, whereas the female divemaster Yoyo was inexperienced; she told us it was her second time on the boat. They split us up into two groups, and she took one group by herself anyway…
We stopped at an island called Banta Island. The instructor briefed us and he said a few things during the briefing which made all my alarm bells kick-off; however, I ignored them as I thought ‘Oh it’s my friend’s company, surely they know what they are doing…’. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Alex said that the current in this area was one of the strongest and that he hasn’t been to this island in a few years. He even mentioned that people recently died on this dive site. I would like to take responsibility at this point right here, as I could have made the choice to skip the dive, but I didn’t. And this became the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life.
Before we started our dive, Alex explained the procedure. As it was a wall dive, he said that at a particular point in the dive, before we round the corner of the wall, he would check the current and give us a signal to go ahead if it was safe or that we should go back if it wasn’t. When we reached this point in the dive, he checked and gave us the go-ahead to continue forward. I was the first person right after the instructor.
The current was too strong. I immediately got caught up into the current. It was like being in a washing machine. My mask got ripped off as well as the regulator. I was holding on to the reef with my hands knowing what can happen when you shoot up from a depth of 32 meters (that’s what the dive computer said, but maybe it was, even deeper, I am unsure as I got pulled up and down and up and down).
It was a disaster. The guys behind me were all experienced divers but the same thing happened to them. Luckily they ended up holding on to the reef with their metal hooks to the reef. As I didn’t have metal hooks as they did, I was holding the reef with my bare hands. Blood was everywhere. I was freaking out. The corals were sharp and cut my hands open. I looked for Alex and prayed he would come to help me, and he didn’t.
I saw the face of the guy behind me (he has about 3000 dives logged in) and he was freaking out too. The fear in his face made me realize that I was in huge trouble. Everything happened so quickly.
I kept fighting for a few more seconds, trying to hold on to the reef, I don’t know how long for. I finally gave up and shot to the surface.
I thought that’s it and I will die. I seriously thought that’s it: over and out.
I woke up at the surface. I had no idea how long I was out for. But I soon realized something wasn’t right as I couldn’t breathe properly.
I couldn’t get to land as there was none around me. There were only huge rocks and the waves were crazy huge they would have just smashed me against the rocks. I kicked and kicked against the current so I could at least just try to stay away from the rocks.
Some time passed. I released a big burp and released some air from my lungs. I felt better and hoped to retain the strength to keep fighting. I was still treading water.
Some more time passed. At some point, this guy from our boat came with a mini boat and picked me up.
We picked up the others on the way once they made it back up, as they were still down in the depths fighting the current. The woman who was behind me in the dive has the same experience as I did. She nearly got pulled up too but managed to stay down somehow, I think her husband, the guy who was right behind me grabbed her hand and saved her.
Once we were back on the boat, a fellow dive buddy looked after me and helped me to get the splinters out of my hands and to disinfect the open wounds.
And that was the end of the trip for me.
I left the boat and went on land to calm down.
Liquid Adventures Indonesia even made me pay for the mini boat which came to pick me up from the middle of the ocean to bring me on land. I had been working in the travel industry for 10 years at that point and have been visiting Indonesia for longer than that. I have NEVER come across a company lacking any integrity or customer service like this. And this company is run by 2 English guys, who “should” know better...
I went to the nearest hospital to Flores and the doctor said I couldn’t go into the decompression sickness chamber because the staff manning it had already left for the day.
The doctor then examined me and said my ears were damaged but that the damage would heal on its own. I went away trying to believe him. He failed to diagnose my decompression sickness.
After that, I got back to normal life. Well, I tried anyway.
I felt terrible every day.
I have faced huge medical problems since the accident and the company hasn’t offered any support.
Without going into too much detail, I have summarized the main problems that have been through.
I started to get headaches and tinnitus. I thought for some time they were stress-related and would go away if I relaxed. They didn’t. I went to London to see some doctors as I was hoping for a higher quality of medical care there. I visited several hospitals in London and saw countless doctors; however, my medical issues still aren’t resolved (I started seeking consultations and treatments in May 2019). My life has changed drastically.
The 100th doctor I saw in London (Neurologist), diagnosed me with Baro Trauma. I was diagnosed with this approximately three months after the accident which is apparently very late and the Decompression Sickness should have gone away by itself (it didn’t). It took forever to get an appointment with the right doctor and I had to go through countless other appointments until I was “qualified” enough to see this particular doctor.
It’s been a year and a half now that I have been feeling terrible. Every day I wake up, I am suffering from this noise in my head, doctors fail to cure it. For over a year I felt sick and dizzy every second of the day. After having received a variety of medical treatments from other doctors, I am at least happy to report that I do feel slightly less dizzy now.
I have been seeing countless numbers of doctors in other countries outside of London too.
The impact of this on my life has been immense. Meetings with large groups of people overwhelm my ability to cope. I get intense motion sickness when riding in a car or bus. I get intense discomfort from sound waves as well. Before this I loved dancing, I still do, but I can’t do it anymore as it makes me immediately feel sick. I need to plan my day very carefully as every small thing I do is physically and mentally exhausting and draining. I stopped socializing and don’t go out much as any loud noises around me drive me insane. I have this pressure on my ears, day in and day out. When I fall asleep, the noise in my head is there, and when I wake up it’s still there. I have recently been diagnosed with PTSD because of the accident which is yet another obstacle.
I am not here to write an essay about my terrible health condition due to this accident, but I want to share my experience and the lack of professionalism the company (and a “friend?!) has shown and which consequences I faced as a result.
Paul and Richard, both people I knew for almost a decade didn’t even have the decency to call me or send me an email to see how I am.
What happened after I left the boat? On the same day when I left the boat, the engine of the boat broke down and the rest of the tourists were stuck in the middle of nowhere… the trip had also finished for them there and then. Coming out of a terrible scuba dive accident, then being stuck on the boat in the middle of the ocean… Good job…
As I exchanged phone numbers with the other divers I found out that Paul refused to pay a refund to them- others said they had received a partial refund.
The other divers asked Paul how I was and he apparently replied: “Oh yes, yes all is fine, we talked about it, we have been friends for a long time”.
That is a complete lie. Paul never called. I emailed him also after the accident and never received a reply.
After they managed to get the boat to the next harbour, Paul showed up in the same city and could have called, said hello, or anything else. But instead he chose to do nothing.
So, obviously, I wouldn’t be able to recommend this company or service to anyone. This company clearly didn’t maintain the boat, none of the boat crew members spoke English and none of the staff were trained properly. Alex kept mentioning how “cool” it is to have been a crew member on board where everyone can do a little bit of everything. Needless to say I don’t agree given that their lack of training and accountability puts real lives at stake.
This company’s customer service is pretty much non-existent, and don’t even get me started on legal paperwork: the right documentation for the right people on board etc…
I have seen countless doctors in the country where I am now, and no therapy or treatment seems to help to ease the symptoms.
Clearly, I feel very frustrated towards this company, a shitty friend and the impact this accident had on my life.
I live my life at 30% capacity every day and I am still actively seeking treatment to get it up to 100%. I am losing hope daily.
My hospital bills are piling up as you can imagine.
I strongly suggest that you go with another company who would actually take care of you, provide quality service and most importantly, won’t put you in a dangerous place (EVEN IF THEY KNOW they shouldn’t go there!) please choose another company and do not go with Liquid Adventures.
All the best.
Du kannst deinen Urlaub direkt auf diesem Liveaboard buchen