- Reaction score
- # of dives
- 500 - 999
An inquest into the deaths of two UK rebreather divers just two days apart on an HMHS Britannic wreck expedition in Greece has been adjourned to give the
I don't know anything about rebreathers or extra deep diving and I may not understand all of the article. I am sure that the coroner's examinations were challenged by the delay and condition of the bodies as mentioned in this excerpt...
I have to wonder tho if the coroner took into account the way CO binds with hemoglobin at depth and becomes an increasingly toxic problem on ascent.Post mortem examinations had originally been carried out in Greece, but were later repeated at the coroner’s request by UK pathologist Dr Lisa Barker. She said that it had been challenging to follow up on the earlier examination, especially with the bodies embalmed, but biopsies had indicated that Saville’s CO level had been 15% and Dr Hong’s 11%.
Dr Barker said that such levels would not usually prove fatal – but were abnormally high. Because neither diver was a smoker, their expected CO levels would be around 0.5%.
Toward the end of the article, I do see several paragraphs that do bother me...
I suspect that no CO tests were done on the cylinders before or after the dives as so many experienced and highly trained divers seem to not recognize the hidden risks nor bother carrying CO tank testers. The technology was simply unavailable during the founding and development of the sport and the risks are continuously ignored.Regarding the possibility of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide being present in the divers’ cylinders, it emerged that no cylinder test results had been made available to the coroner.
Then this excerpt...
That's just wrong, on two levels! (1) Many nonlethal CO hits are dismissed as other maladies, like "travelers flu," and (2) when compressors are overworked and overheated to the point of partially burning their own lubricating oil, it's very common for performance to vary enough that some tanks are clean while others from the same compressor are toxic.However, Dr Turner considered CO poisoning “pretty unlikely”. None of the other expedition divers had shown any symptoms, as might be expected if a filling system had become contaminated.
And this excerpt...
I fear that the Dr is simply uninformed about the risks of the "station wagon effect" of fumes from a boat engine being sucked back into the cabins on boats.A Greek expert’s suggestion that both divers could have inhaled CO while on the dive-boat was dismissed, with Dr Turner regarding this as highly unlikely to occur in the open air. No issues had been found in later checks on the vessel.
CO is such a risk invisible to all of our senses, made extra toxic at depth and even more so on the ascent, and continues as an underappreciated risk.