A woman in a diving class at Cultus Lake over the weekend experienced a medical emergency while in the water.

At 11:38 a.m. Saturday, a person drove from the lake’s public boat launch to Cultus Lake Resort, one mile away, to call 911 to report a woman in a Central Oregon Diving class was having a medical emergency.

Police officers and medics responded, but by the time they arrived, the woman was breathing and talking to instructors, according to Sgt. William Bailey, spokesman for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Medics gave the woman oxygen and took her to St. Charles Bend. Sheriff’s deputies left the scene at 12:24 p.m.

Several diving companies use the public boat launch at Cultus Lake, which is located in the Deschutes National Forest.

According to Liz Simpson, an owner of Central Oregon Diving, the woman had a “minor blackout” during class and was in 5 feet of water at the time. The woman, one of six students being supervised by two dive instructors, was surfacing after a 20-minute class, Simpson said. An instructor gave the woman rescue breaths, Simpson said.

“It could have been a totally different outcome,” she said. “She could have easily died.”

Simpson credited her instructors with “doing everything right” and saving the woman’s life.

“It wasn’t a drowning. It wasn’t a near-drowning,” Simpson said. “It was a minor blackout, and she’s fine.”

A Central Oregon Diving student died in 2009, Simpson said. The Deschutes County Medical Examiner said the diver, Robert Leon Ray Jr., 41, of Bend, appeared to have panicked while attempting to use his regulator and inhaled water as he and a dive instructor were attempting to come to the surface. Ray’s death was ruled an accident.

Simpson said the company has certified more than 1,500 divers since it opened in 2005.

She said the Professional Association of Diving Instructors has already completed an investigation into the incident and found her business did nothing wrong.

A call to PADI wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Bend Fire Department have not released the woman’s name.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

20376477