Unexplained high Carbon Monoxide levels in Kea diver deaths

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DandyDon

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This is about the coroner's examinations and report to two divers who died two days apart diving deep wrecks from the same expedition. The accident was briefly discussed on this thread: Huddersfield company director dies during 'bucket list' 125m deep sea diving trip

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...
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%.
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.

Toward the end of the article, I do see several paragraphs that do bother me...
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.
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.

Then this excerpt...
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.
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.

And this excerpt...
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.
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.

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.
 
@DandyDon maybe you should send an email to the coroner?
I'm sure that I lack the credentials and standing to be noticed or taken seriously. That would need to come from experts who have those, who don't mind the risk involved with associating their names with the issues, but even then - it'd be difficult to make a clear case without records of immediate tank testing. We're taught in OW to taste and smell tank gas even tho CO has neither and the risks continue without calibrated tank testers onboard and used. All tanks and all guns look safe enough without examination.
 
This is about the coroner's examinations and report to two divers who died two days apart diving deep wrecks from the same expedition. The accident was briefly discussed on this thread: Huddersfield company director dies during 'bucket list' 125m deep sea diving trip

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Just a thought....in a rebreather, carbon monoxide would react with the lime in the scrubber producing calcium formate, wich has a stinging taste at mouth and can produce gastrointestinal injuries. Guess that the effect of CO bounding to hemoglobine would happen first, but not sure.
 
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