Pantoja's accident

  • It's been a couple of months now since the accident. It's been on my mind a lot as I regularly dive with pantoja and he's been out of commission since and will continue to be for a few more months. I wanted to talk about the accident publicly for a while now but held back because I felt that it was inappropriate. A couple of days ago Pantoja told me that he doesn't mind. This is for divers to take a lesson and be careful, and understand why we insist on some safety procedures.


    I pulled out of that trip the night before due to not feeling rested. Pantoja took three divers out on his boat. They hit a school of mangroves but wend back to the dock because one of the divers who wasn't feeling well. After dropping him off they returned to the same spot, anchored and Pantoja proceeded to put up the dive flag. Unknown to him one of the divers placed a speargun in the fin bucket. This is a square plastic trash can that we fastened to the back of the seat and is supposed to be for fins only.


    The speargun was a Rob Allen with a tricut point spear, and was placed with the spear pointing up and sideways. Pantoja was standing on the seat raising the dive flag over the canopy. After raising the flag he jumped down and onto the spear. The spear struck the lower ribs on the right side, traveled upwards along them and penetrated between the upper ribs going into the lung. Sergio made an instant decision to remove it. The spear was embedded past the flopper so to remove it he had to twist it the same way we do to get it out of a fish. Then they sped back to the dock which was two or three miles away. It is my understanding that Sergio had to drive the boat himself at some point and also dock it. During all this emergency assistance was called and he was air lifted by helicopter from Haulover park to Jackson hospital.


    The spear penetrated the lung and the lung collapsed. Sergio had a tube put into the lung which was sucking out the blood accumulating there. I went to visit him the next day and it was obvious he was in a lot of pain. He was in a hospital bed with very limited movement and a tube in his chest for a week.


    I see him pretty normal now except for the psychological strain of not being able to do what he loves. There is little information about the time it takes for a lung to recuperate fully from such a thing. The affects of diving and pressure could possibly cause it to collapse again and make things even worse than the effects of the accident in the first place. Common sense dictates to wait as long as possible before putting the lung through the exertions of deep diving.


    Everybody was really great through this and there was a lot of support from those who know Pantoja in the spearfishing community which was great to see. Some of you really came through, you know who you are. Best wishes Sergio and I want to see you in the water soon because that's what you're all about.

  • It was really a scary situation. As soon as i saw that spear in Pantoja's chest I took off with the boat still


    anchored, we had hit the mancha de pargo and Sergio was kcking some major ass as usual.


    I assured sergio today that we will hunt again soon enough.

  • Sergio, i am really glad that this situation hasn´t been more serious. I am a bit pissed for the accident though. Sometimes we forget that a speargun is a potentially lethal weapon. And i regret that somebody´s mistake had put you under serious suffering. Thank you for posting this. That accident will not be in vain though. A lot of people will remember this as a safety reminder for the years to come.


    Get well soon.

    I'm a Speardiver, not a freediver

  • We did discuss the taking out of the spear on the spot. Considering it was choppy, there was no way to secure the spear from moving, and any rescue effort would have made it move excessively including the ride back to shore, I think taking it out was the right decision.

  • I was there and did not hear Sergio complain once.


    When he got stabbed, he actually told us not to worry. He had thought the spear had hit his


    Liver and it was over," Me le dio al higado, estoy hodido, no llamen a nadie".


    Thank God, things are different.


  • Ufff! Thank´s to God he is ok now. Let us know how is he doing please. He will be in the water in no time, hopefully in the best shape of his life.

    I'm a Speardiver, not a freediver

  • Wow, thanks for sharing this. I had seen the veiled references to Pantoja getting shot, but didn't know the story. I don't want to derail, so maybe a good topic for another thread is "how do you store your guns on the boat"?

  • We talked about this too. The conclusion was no speargun racks with the exception being when the rack can be right up against a wall or console. If it's lying on the boat deck the worst it can do is put a hole in your foot. Messing around with tip protectors is not a viable alternative.

  • Could a rack be designed to hold them up-side-down? I use slip tips, which are easy becasue we just dislodge the tip and let it dangle.

  • Thaks guys for all the kind words. Honestly I feel great, it bothers me a little bit in the morning if i sleep on that side for to long, but that's it. the upside down rack is a good idea , I thought about it a couple times. It would have to be designed in a way that the gun wont rest on the shaft but the bidy of the gun , am I right?

  • Yeah, I don't think a gun resting on the spear is a good idea. Even if you put a cover on the tip, if the shaft remains in the trigger mech it has to eventually damage it from all the banging the boat will do. For Pneumo or other types(if you remove shaft) should be ok, but then what's the point.

  • yes that was like 30 minutes before. pantoja shot all those fish, i only got a mackeral and a jack.

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