Search and rescue professionals explain how Cameron Robbins likely disappeared after diving into the sea

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Grainy cellphone footage shows recent Louisiana graduate Cameron Robbins swimming in Bahamian waters at night, but as the camera pans for a second, he disappears – never to be seen again.

Some claim the video appears to show a shark closing in on the 18-year-old, but longtime experts in scuba diving and maritime search and rescue tell The Post how several other findings should be taken into account. account and explain why they believe his body has yet to be recovered two weeks later.

Efforts by Coast Guardsmen from nearby Nassau and Robbins’ family were called off after two days when no trace of the teenager was found.

Wednesday will mark two weeks since Robbins, a high school athlete, disappeared, leaving his grieving family with no answers.

“He was lost at sea after being reported missing off Athol Island in the Bahamas on the evening of May 24,” says a recent obituary honoring the brother, son and grandson. -loved.

“Although he left this world far too soon, he lived a life full of good friends and family. He was funny and generous, but also intense and driven.”

Was it a shark attack?

Robbins graduated from University Lab School in Baton Rouge three days before disappearing in “shark-infested” waters off Athol Island in the Bahamas.

He had jumped off Blackbeard’s Revenge, a pirate ship-style ship, moments earlier.

The haunting video footage shows Robbins swimming away from a lifeline as onlookers yell at him to grab the device.

The shadow of a mysterious being can be seen in the water a few meters from where it swam.

Netizens speculated that the object was a shark that dragged him under. But experts largely reject the claim.

“We consulted oceanography and fisheries experts,” said Brian Trascher, vice president and spokesperson for United Cajun Navy, a nonprofit organization that has worked with the Robbins family. “They don’t believe…he came into contact with sharks or marine predators at any time.

“And until we get a better video or something more conclusive, that will be our position.”

Butch Hendrick, president and founder of public safety dive training company Lifeguard Systems, has spent decades learning about Caribbean waters, including off the Bahamas.

“I don’t hear about a lot of shark attacks in the Bahamas,” he told the Post on Friday.

He noted that boats such as the one Robbins and his classmates had been on often serve food that is then dumped or dumped in the water, which can attract marine life, such as sharks.

Marine life, like sharks, is “smart enough to realize that it’s a boat that’s going out all the time and there’s going to be food,” said Hendricks, who has developed lifesaving methods. in 15 countries, at the Post.

But the behavior of the object seen in the water with Robbins was not indicative of a shark.

“The trend is not that (the shark) came in, picked it up and took it down the deep end,” Hendricks continued.

He noted the absence of any sign of blood in the water.

“They were hitting him, that might be enough to totally incapacitate him. That could be enough to cause him to drown in place.

Additionally, it is unusual for a shark to finish eating a human it has attacked, he noted.

“The tendency is more often to take a bite, shake it and decide that’s not what they wanted,” he said.

As for tiger sharks, which are known to swim in the waters off Athol Island, “they can take a very big chunk of it,” Hendricks said.

“But the concept that they came back and ate more is slim.”

What happened to Cameron Robbins?

Cristina Zenato, a longtime diver and Bahamas-based shark and oceans advocate, told the Post that she was not involved in the case at all, but suspected that Robbins could have suffered from hypothermia, then s is drowned.

“From what I saw Cameron was only wearing shorts and possibly had some level of alcohol in his blood causing vasodilation,” she wrote in an email. . “There’s a good chance he didn’t survive hypothermia which, contrary to popular belief, can occur in about an hour, even in Caribbean waters.”

Hendricks, like Zenato, wondered how much alcohol, if any, was in Robbins’ system at the time, and noted that this might have contributed to the circumstances.

But Hendricks, whose rescue and recovery training company is one of the oldest in the country, also wondered if Robbins could have lost his breath after jumping from the boat.

“When he hits the water, does it just take his breath away and he can’t catch his breath?” he said.

“Cutting the wind when it hits the water is a very high possibility – now it’s struggling and it could sink.”

The current at the time would also likely have played a role, Hendricks said, as well as the possibility that Robbins hit his head on his descent.

“So we don’t see the beating, we don’t see (blood). He’s more likely to hit his head against the edge of the boat or get gasped when he hits the water, he can’t catch his breath and then in 60 seconds he leaves the surface. ”

He called the chances that Robbins was able to swim to the safety of a shore as “not impossible, but reasonably slim”.

Gone forever?

The US Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) spent two days searching the waters for any sign of Robbins before suspending efforts, as per their protocol if they find no trace of an individual missing at sea. .

Hendricks, who is no stranger to search and rescue procedures, said officials likely scoured the surface of the water for any evidence floating in the water.

Whether or not Robbins’ body sank after jumping from the boat, his remains would likely have floated away – unless he suffered wounds or punctures to his body while in the water.

What to know about the disappearance of Cameron Robbins

Cameron Robbins, 18, graduated from University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge in May and was on a trip to the Bahamas with students from several local high schools.

According to witnesses, the teenager – who was apparently acting on a dare – dove into a party cruise in the ocean near the island of Athol at night.

Robbins was last seen splashing in the dark ‘shark-infested’ waters just yards from the boat, before vanishing.

Chaotic video taken moments after the jump also shows the recent graduate ignoring calls from onlookers to grab a buoy.

The party ship remained in the area for several hours while the crew searched for Robbins.

The Coast Guard called off its own search two days later, after apparently covering more than 325 square miles.


“It happened over a week and a half ago,” Hendricks said. “In this water temperature, it should have floated.”

In addition to temperature and any bodily injuries, water depth would also play a role in Robbins’ body overhaul, Hendricks explained.

“It could very well mean the body is gone forever,” he said.

“It’s been too long for this temperature and for this depth, unless the water is very deep there – unless we’re talking about water deeper than 100 feet,” he continued. “That body should have been in place – unless it couldn’t float.”

Hendricks also noted the existence of a 200-foot underwater channel near where Robbins entered the water.

If the teenager drifted into the channel, Hendricks said, “he’s not coming up.”


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