Woman, 18, dies and man, 22, is injured while scuba diving in a lake at Montana’s Glacier National Park
- Both victims were part of a scuba diving group made up of six people who were diving in Lake McDonald on Sunday afternoon
- The 18-year-old woman had an unspecified accident and died at the scene
- Male diver, aged 22, was airlifted to a hospital for hyperbaric treatment, which is used for decompression sickness caused by surfacing too quickly
- At 10 miles long and 464 feet deep Lake McDonald is both largest and deepest body of water in the park
- Temperature of most lakes in Glacier National Park never gets above 50 degrees at the surface
An 18-year-old Montana woman has died and a 22-year-old man was injured in a scuba diving accident in a popular Glacier National Park lake over the weekend.
Park rangers responded to a report of an accident at Lake McDonald just before 6pm on Sunday.
The woman died at the scene, despite repeated efforts by her diving companions and first responders to revive her. Her name and cause of death have not been released as of Tuesday afternoon.
The 22-year-old man suffered shortness of breath and was transported by an ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
He was later flown to Seattle, Washington, for hyperbaric treatment, which is commonly used for decompression sickness that can be caused by surfacing too quickly while scuba diving.
An 18-year-old woman from Montana died on Sunday in a scuba diving accident in Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park
The 18-year-old, who was a resident of Missoula, Montana, was part of a group of six people who started their dive near the dock of Lake McDonald Lodge at around 4.00pm.
It is unknown how cold the water was in Lake McDonald on Sunday, but according to the National Park Service, the temperature of most lakes in Glacier National Park never gets above 50 degrees at the surface.
Daytime air temperatures in Glacier National Park on Sunday were in the mid-50s.
At the time of the accident, witnesses drove to Apgar Village for cell signal to call 911. Paramedics responded to the scene about thirty minutes later.
At 10 miles long and 464 feet deep Lake McDonald is both largest and deepest body of water in the park. It is popular among scuba divers because of its submerged relics
The incident is under investigation and officials have not released any information about the cause or nature of the accident.
Decompression sickness is a condition that some people develop after SCUBA diving, where the change in pressure from ascending from deep under water to the surface causes nitrogen bubbles to form in blood vessels.
This typically causes muscle and joint aches and fatigue, but in rare cases can prove fatal. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reverses the process that allows the dangerous nitrogen bubbles to form.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, in which the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure, allowing a patient’s lungs to gather more oxygen, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
At 10 miles long and 464 feet deep Lake McDonald is both largest and deepest body of water in the park. Located on the west side of the park, the lake is popular among scuba divers because of its submerged artifacts, park officials said.
Permits are not required to dive in Glacier National Park.