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Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by divezonescuba, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Tesibria

    Tesibria Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Somewhere b/w Phoenix & Shanghai
    Question for the firefighters and related experts. Any thoughts on the accuracy of claims made in the "Toxic Hot Seat" documentary (which questioned both the efficacy of the retardants themselves and the relative benefits/risks, given their high toxicity).
    shoredivr and Bob DBF like this.
  2. Tesibria

    Tesibria Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Somewhere b/w Phoenix & Shanghai
    Most news reports after first few hours (except those republishing the initial reports) said SOME were in their underwear. (E.g., here, here, and here and many more)
  3. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    My question would be, were the ships upgraded and inspected to carry passengers, at the time of conversion, or were they grandfathered and inspected for their origional use? If inspected for their origional use and actually used for for a different purpose, I see that as a serious governmental problem.

    The Conseption was built and inspected for carrying pasengers, I don't know that the same design could not be built and passed the day before this accident. If there need to be changes, the NTSB will probably give some suggestions in their report.

  4. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    The boat that sunk was originally a tour boat, but it was from the early 50s. It was just a small boat so things like bulkheads weren't a thing then...
    shoredivr and Bob DBF like this.
  5. cerich

    cerich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    Before aluminum melts, it become so brittle it is unsafe. Alm decks and ladders in a fire are very, very dangerous.
    Bob DBF and Akimbo like this.
  6. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    I'm mixing F and C in my mind. 1100F is the high end when of where you'll get flashover. At 1100F everything organic in the room is emitting burnable gasses and just needs enough oxygen to ignite. In this fire it seems there was no shortage of oxygen. Actual major league structural fires are apparently significantly hotter, up to around 1000 C in a room undergoing flashover per NIST. ASTM E119 (a 'standard fire' chart) shows 538C (1000F) at 5 minutes, 704C (1300F) at 10 minutes, 843C (1550F) at 20 minutes.

    Actual fire behavior depends on a lot of factors, and I don't see any good studies of how a fiberglass boat burns. But we know the plastics that are part of structural fiberglass will burn well once ignited and emit large amounts of what is considered fairly toxic smoke. Furthermore burning fiberglass yachts seem to be generally considered hard to extinguish once solidly ignited.
    Akimbo likes this.
  7. EricTheDood

    EricTheDood DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    Not brittle, but very weak. But yes, effectively the same end result for the user. That is, unusable.

    Aluminum is an "age-hardening" metal. It is first "solution annealed" at high temperature, rapidly quenched in a water-based bath, then tempered at a much lower temperature, typically around 400 degrees F (T6 temper).

    At over 1000F (the temperature of a fire), the heat treating is just about completely reversed and it becomes soft, gummy, and very weak. The reduction in strength is permanent until the aluminum structure is solution annealed and tempered again. That's why welded aluminum structures need to be heat treated.

    316 stainless steel, on the other hand, maintains strength at much higher temperatures, and stands up to the corrosive properties of salt water. It's also a non hardenable alloy, so if it gets baked and then returns to room temperature, its properties aren't going to be affected much.
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  8. soldsoul4foos

    soldsoul4foos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Portland, ME
    I find it strange that not one single passenger downstairs woke up early enough in this tragedy to do something, anything. If this fire started and slowly built up steam until it was a raging inferno, out of 34 people, not one woke up, was already awake, or something like that? My ex could literally wake up if I rolled over in bed sometimes. That part of this puzzle just seems odd to me.
    Brodydog, DanBMW, BDSC and 1 other person like this.
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    This appears to be why so many are speculating that asphyxiation/hypoxia was the cause of death. I hope so.
    eleniel, shoredivr and chillyinCanada like this.
  10. edm81363

    edm81363 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Mill Creek, WA
    While this small dive boat had no such technology, larger vessels such as cargo ships do have both voice and data recorders. The Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was used to recover the recorders from the SS El Faro RoRo and that information was crucial to the investigation.
    Luis H and Akimbo like this.
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