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Recreational Freediver Dies In Hawaii From Shallow Water Blackout

On Tuesday, Charles Andrew Chiswick died Tuesday in a free-diving accident off Rabbit Island in the Hawaiian Islands.

According to accounts given, that morning, Chiswick and his father were on the family’s boat near Rabbit Island.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Charles was into his third or fourth free dive.

His father, Cary Chiswick, was monitoring each dive with his watch, noting the minutes as they passed. At three minutes he became worried. At three and a half, he dropped anchor and dove.

He found his son 60 feet below the surface, unconscious on the ocean floor.

Cary Chiswick’s efforts to resuscitate his son were unsuccessful, as were those of firefighters and Emergency Medical Services paramedics.

Authorities told CHarle’s parents that their son had suffered a shallow-water blackout, a loss of consciousness that sometimes occurs as a free diver surfaces, and drowned.

The deceased Chiswick was well aware about the dangers of shallow-water blackout. He’d discussed it many times with his parents. He said the dives were worth the risk.

He loved the risks, the challenge, the ocean depths, the outings with friends and the time spent with his father. Given a choice, would Charlie have selected the same fate?

"He wouldn’t have had it any other way," the elder Chiswick said.

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.