Newbie stated that he gets seasick sometimes and took a Dramamine for the first time.
On the first kelp paddy 30 miles offshore, Newbie got into the water with me. Winds and swell were light. We parked uphill. I told the newbie when the boat passes the kelp paddy, board the boat.
The kelp paddy was dry except for small yellowtail and flying fish.
I boarded the boat when it reached the kelp paddy. Newbie stayed in. After a few minutes, he removed his mask and snorkel while in the water. I advised him to leave them on while in the water.
He boarded. He handed me a loaded gun pointed at my chest. I said, "Do not do that again." I drew his floatline and float in.
He boarded, removed his fins, and sat on the gunnel in the stern. I said, "All clear?" He responded, "Yes, let's go."
I headed towards the next kelp paddy, which I saw off in the distance.
I noticed his dive bag was loose on the bow and asked that he secure it. He gave me a blank stare. I said, "The orange clip. Clamp it with the clip."
I kept my eye on the paddy. The bag started to slide. I turned back to him to see what the hold-up was. His body and face went paralytic and he straightened out, which put him overboard.
I killed the motor and kept my eye on where he went in. I was shocked that he was not on the surface, but that he had sunk.
I jumped in and swam to where he went in. I dove with no fins but with my weightbelt still on, and the mask around my neck. I dove and was shocked at how far he had sunk out already. I was able to reach his foot as he was sinking headfirst.
His body was locked and paralyzed. On the way to the surface I underhooked his arm and put his head in my right hand. At the surface he was unresponsive. He was not breathing. His mouth was full of water and foam. I tilted his head to get out yhe water, which was not completely effective. I began to tap, tap, blow. No response.
I swam in this position to the boat while doing tap, tap, blow and yelling his name. I reached the boat and held it while continuing to tap, tap blow. He started to breath but his eyes were rolled back. This went on for several minutes. I could not get in the boat without letting him go. I made a cradle with my knees against the boat, his head on my knees and both hands on the gunnel.
After several more minutes of this he began to start kicking, then flailing. He spun around and pushed me under him while trying to basically stand on top of me. I went to dive down to get beyond his reach but he had hold of my hood. I wrist-locked his hand, broke free, dove down, and swam underwater about ten feet away.
Upon surfacing, I saw that he was kicking with his face up and he was on his back. He was still in a trancelike state — delirious.
I jumped on the boat while screaming his name. I turned the boat towards him and lined up to grab him. I was able to grab his right arm but he was fighting me trying to go back in the water. I put a kimura on his arm and ducked my head as he was flailing, hoping he would snap out of it. Each time I went for the radio he nearly got away.
The next time he tried to free his right arm with the left, I pinned his left arm to the boat. This went on for about 20 minutes with me yelling his name and saying, "Get on the fucking boat!" There was no way I was letting him go to have to deal with him in the water again.
He eventually started to get in the boat but was unable to. I grabbed his shorts and was able to get him in. He crawled to the stern and lay himself down. I noted that he was breathing and was starting to respond. He had no recollection of the event, but thought he was only out for a second or two. He began to vomit.
I set course for the harbor. At shore he said he was okay and refused assistance from paramedics.
We went to a nearby urgent care. He was saying it was hard to breath. They referred him to the ER as they heard water in his left lung. ER cleared him, noting that he may have trace amounts of water but was okay.
Upon further research, Newbie believes he had a severe allergic reaction to Dramamine. He learned that severe reactions include hallucinations and seizures. His arm and shoulder are sore from the kimura, which I believe was unavoidable.
I can’t tell you how tiring mentally and physically the event was for me. I thought he was dead several times.
I encourage anyone reading this who freedives to seek additional training over being self-taught. I am a Certified PADI Rescue Diver, CPR certified, and certified by both PFI and FFI as a level 2 freediver, which includes freediving rescue. Even with this training the rescue was difficult and touch and go at times.