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This post has been translated into:
Portuguese: Video Acidente de Mergulho Rostro Dividida Ao Meio (em Português).
Bad reactions to the video including nausea, vomiting, dry heaves, paleness, shivering, shaking, spinal chills, headache, rapid heartbeat, nightmares, inability to stop thinking of the video and pain in the face, have been reported. Adverse reactions have lasted up to three days. Please exercise caution in viewing the video.
This is one of the latest viral videos going around. It actually appeared on the Net around the third week of July 2009, but it only started going viral in a huge way around the second week of September 2009. It first appeared on Arabic and Turkish sites, and finally found its way around the Net. In general, it never has a name.
It’s just referred to by some description of the event like, Horrible Diving Accident, Bridge Fail, Worst Diving Accident, Horrific Diving Accident, Awesome Diving Accident, Disgusting Diving Accident, Jump Accident, Cellphone Horrific Diving Accident , and Diving Accident. I named it Dive Fail since I could not think of anything better. Later I changed the name to Face Split Diving Accident.
There’s really no “violence” in this video. It’s just a video of a horrible accident.
A teenager, a 16 year old boy, dives off the seaside promenade in Beirut, Lebanon and slips before the dive. The slip causes him to miss the ocean and instead hit the concrete slab below where fishermen fish. He hits the concrete face first, then goes into the ocean. In a short while, the ocean for yards around has turned red with blood. There are people in the water and boats trying to help the guy, and girls are screaming all over the place.
The scene then shifts to a hospital where the poor guy is being overseen by a team of doctors and nurses. His face has been split clear in two down the middle vertically!
He is still alive, conscious, and, and his tongue is still moving around. He appears terrified. A couple of times, the doctor takes the sides of his face and pushes them together to make a whole face again. The doctor says, “Where do I begin?” a few times in Arabic. We know this is an operating room in Lebanon because the doctors and nurses are speaking Lebanese Arabic.
People are wondering how he could survive such an injury. The front part of his brain may have been injured, but others are saying that it appears to be intact. At any rate, basic things like breathing are done by the brain stem. The brain stem appears to be intact.
People are also wondering about pain. The brain has no pain receptors. On the other hand, the damage to his face must be very painful.
There are a lot of rumors saying that this video is fake, but apparently it is a real video. We know this because people in Lebanon are reporting it. Some had friends who were at the Promenade that day, others said it was reported in the Lebanese press, and others say that they were aware of stories on the street about the video. There is an article in Arabic from the Lebanese press online proving that this event occurred, but it’s in the archives, and looking through the archives costs money.
This event occurred in Beirut in the second week of June 2009. The teenager and his brother were showing off their diving skills by diving off the Manara Promenade (photo), which is right across from the American University on the shore of Beirut’s harbor.
This part of the Promenade is called Al-Rawsha, and it’s long been popular with divers, although officials have always frowned on it. In fact, like the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s also long been popular with suicides and attempted suicides.
It’s a long way off the Manara Promenade to the ocean, over 40 feet. The first part of the video shows his brother making a successful dive. He and his brother had made several jumps before and everything had gone fine, but this time he slips, and disaster unfolds.
This part was shot with a Nokia cellphone which shoots dark in the afternoon. This segment was shot by a girl at the scene who can be heard screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Someone call the Civil Defense!” in Arabic. People are saying that the video is fake because his friends would not shoot him diving, but the girl filming is just some girl who was there filming the divers. Lots of people film them with cellphones when they dive.
This actually is not the original video from Lebanon. In Lebanon, there were two videos, the first one of the diving accident. It’s apparently two different videos spliced together. This one started going around Lebanon later in the day after the accident. The second video reportedly was shot in the hospital and started going around later. In the original Lebanese video, there is no fade out after he hits, for one thing. The original video from Lebanon is not currently available.
The second part of the clip is the same kid in the hospital, but was shot with a different cellphone so it looks different. The hospital staff is definitely speaking Lebanese Arabic. This part of the clip was shot in the brightly-lit ER of the American University Hospital, which is only ¼ mile away from where the accident took place. That’s why things are so much brighter in this part of the clip.
People are saying that there is no way that such a clip could have been shot in an ER, however, in the Developing World, it is quite common for family, friends, etc. to be present in the ER right next to the patient’s bed as the staff hovers around them. It’s also not uncommon that they have a cellphone on them and record the goings-on. That would probably be pretty weird in the US, but in the Arab World, no one thinks anything of it.
As you can see in the hospital footage, they have him intubated, which is an excellent idea. However, he is not on a ventilator, nor are there any signs of monitoring equipment such a pulse oximeter. Also they did not put him in C-Spine precautions (C-collar, backboard, strapped down).
The physician is focusing on holding his face together, possibly in order to protect the airway. Critics are saying that the doctor is “playing” with the face and no doctor would do that, but I don’t think is playing with it. I think he’s trying to fix it.
Medical personnel in the US were saying the video is fake because apparently he is not receiving proper medical care. Keep in mind that this is Lebanon. He is getting reasonable medical care, but I think it is safe to say he is not receiving the best of medical care.
All the surgeons could do was to stitch up his very deep and severe wounds in his face. Although some clinicians on the Net have said that a good ENT specialist could patch this kid up good, this poor guy could not be saved. All they were able to do was to keep him alive in the ICU for two hours before he died. Death was reportedly due to internal bleeding.
The city of Beirut has tried to stop such nonsense by putting up railings and barbed wire where people like to dive, but teenage boys and even young men in their 20’s keep on diving off the Promenade in very risky circumstances. Before this accident, there were a number of other horrible diving accidents in this area, all involving teenage boys and young men.
There is a recent post that details a different video that supposedly proves that this video is fake. In the other video, the hospital footage is said to be of a failed 9mm suicide. However, no way can a 9mm do that kind of damage to your face. Furthermore, in a longer video version of the ER scene, the two doctors are discussing in Lebanese Arabic how he landed “on a rock” when he jumped into the water. This dialogue would not exist in a gun suicide video.
In addition, some are saying that the victim in the failed gun suicide video had a similar injury that differed from this one in certain ways; in particular, this one has a dichotomy of the jaw at the chin, and the other did not.
There are claims that instead of a 9mm failed suicide, this is a shotgun failed suicide. However, there are many photos of shotgun suicides on the Web, for instance, at Rotten.com. In general, shotgun failed suicides do not neatly clove one’s face in two in the way that this injury did. If it’s really a failed gun suicide, why are they speaking Lebanese Arabic just like they are speaking during the dive accident?
Sources in Lebanon who were there at the promenade and witnessed the dive accident claim that the word on the street in Lebanon is that the second half was shot in the hospital and is footage of aftermath of the diving accident. In addition, the young man in the hospital at the end is wearing swim trunks, just as the diver wore. What are the chances that a video of a failed shotgun suicide by a young man wearing a bathing suit occurred and was filmed in Lebanon around the same time of this accident?
Many people have questioned the nature of the wound. It does not seem to be possible to hit a concrete slab and split your face vertically like he did. However, if you look at the dive footage, there is steel casing around the concrete slab that he hits. The concrete slab has worn away and a lot of the steel casing is exposed. The steel casing runs parallel to the shoreline. Even then, hitting the steel casing would seem to be a horizontal hit.
However, look at the way that the boy is flailing wildly in the air. In his dive, he is twisting and turning like the wind. With such a flailing dive and while probably curving to try to avoid the concrete, it’s possible for him to him to turn the 90 degrees he needs to turn to hit the sharp edge of the steel casing vertically instead of horizontally, which would result in the injury we see later.
There is another theory suggesting that the hospital footage is not even real – it’s faked using special effects. I find this dubious. Looking at the cheap quality of the video especially and the fact that faking something like this is the terrain of motion picture studios with huge budgets, I think it is clear that the guy in the hospital suit is not “some rubber thing.” One problem is that the hospital guy is quite pale, while the jumper is a typical brown-skinned Arab. This is possible if the diver lost a lot of blood.
Another suggestion, perhaps not as odd as it sounds, is that he is already dead on the ER table. The body can make a few involuntary movements after death, there are such things as death rattles, and the breathing is said to have been artificially forced by the tube. But why tube a dead man? And if you look closely, you can see that his tongue is moving, and his chest is going up and down. He appears to be gasping for breath. A funeral director on the Web felt that he was still very much alive. She also said gun suicide injuries never cleave the head so perfectly. Only accidents can do that.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if the video is “fake” or not, because it isn’t. When we watch a scary Hollywood movie, do we all scream, “Fake!”? Of course not. What matters is if a movie is scary. And this video is downright terrifying. It’s scary like Saw or Hostel is scary. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
There is something really creepy about this video that I can’t quite put a finger on.
From the very amateurish trilingual warning at the beginning (Arabic, French and English, suggesting once again it was made in Lebanon) to the horrible screams after he hits, to the blood-red ocean spreading in a large area around the 20-30 people gathered in the water to help him, to the absolutely terrifying scene in the hospital where the poor kid, incredibly, has a face split clear in two.
The labored, terrified breathing of the victim combined with what appears to be a the look of horror on what’s left of his face is something that really stays with you.
Throughout the video, there is some weird, cheesy, hard to describe instrumental music going in the background that for some strange reason that really adds to the fear. This music is actually the soundtrack to a medical show on US TV that may or may not be on anymore. It’s either the soundtrack to ER or Chicago Hope. The amateurish cellphone footage that jumps around jerkily also in some way makes the video even scarier. I think maybe the frightening thing about all this amateurishness of the video is that it makes it seem so real (i.e. – it’s not just a Hollywood movie!)
I was traumatized for several days after watching this thing, and I’ve watched a lot of nasty stuff.
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