Taiwanese Supermodel Dies During Underwater Shoot, Is Diving Safe for Asthmatics?
The tragic death of a Taiwanese supermodel left the modeling and diving community wondering whether human error is to blame and whether diving is really safe for those with asthma.
According to reports, Olivia Ku was taking part in a mermaid-themed shoot near Hengchun Township in Taiwan's Pingtung County when she allegedly drowned.
Taipei Times reported that she was already unconscious when members of Coast Patrol Corp 6-3 pulled her out of the water at 3:26 p.m., May 17.
Despite the efforts to resuscitate her, doctors failed and she was declared dead.
The Taiwanese community was further baffled knowing that Ku is an amateur diver. She regularly volunteered to help clean the seabeds along Pingtung. With three years of diving experience, Ku should have had no problem handling her breathing.
Although further investigation is yet to be conducted, it has been suggested that the 25-year-old model was asked to remove her breathing apparatus for aesthetic purposes of the shoot, which has triggered an asthma attack.
The local coast guard did not deny nor confirm the allegations.
— Fashion101.in (@Fashion101in) May 20, 2016
According to the Australian Lung Foundation, scuba diving is a particular risk for people with asthma despite underwater breathing system because of the colls and dry air mixture that comes out through the small valve of a diving gas.
Diving and asthma had long been controversial. Deliberations whether a person with asthma should be permitted to dive had been a hot topic worldwide, with some physicians holding contrasting views.
Few countries had released several guidelines pertaining to divers with asthma.
An article posted in Divers Alert Network, mentioned that in United Kingdom, well-controlled asthmatics may dive within two guidelines:
Provided they have not needed a bronchodilator within 48 hours; and if they do not have cold-, exercise- or emotion-induced asthma.
While in Australia, divers are expected to pass a spirometry (lung function) test, to exclude asthma, prior to certification.
Meanwhile, Eelin Entertainment, Ku's modeling agency, said the photoshoot is not work-related.