YD Scuba Diving Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Imported post

[EDIT] - FFS I can't even post this in the correct bit of the forum. I think I am traumatised again. Some pub therapy will be required this PM.

OK Steve, you were bored and wanted the story so here it is. I think I have got most of the facts down.

I decided for a number of reasons (a few years back) that I wanted a FFM. Shortly having acquired it I booked myself in for the TDI advanced EANx and Deco courses. The deco course involves using 2 gas mixes (air/EANx) so I bought a gas switch in order that I could switch between two gas sources whilst diving.

Having got my new gas switch I was faced with a real mess with routing of the hoses. Anyway, I spent a Friday evening sorting everything out as best I could until I was as happy as I could be given the kit I had. This, in my defence, did include physically checking which switch setting worked off which gas supply – well, it is of some significance after all. (NOTE - I had used it in the pool first but was continually adapting the hose routing).

Anyway, come Sat morning I am up very early to give my kit one last check over when I decide that due to the slightly different lengths of some hoses that everything would “fit together better” if they were used in different positions from the first stages. 20 minutes of frantic hose changing and it is time to load up the car and shoot off to Brighton.

Out on the boat we get the 10 minute call and proceed to kit up. My buddy is on the other side of the boat and is kitted up in seconds whereas I, with lots of new bits, am a lot slower. I then was unhappy with the seating of the FFM which resulted in taking it off (after removing my gloves). I am now rushing to catch up and get in the water with my buddy who is ready and impatient to get going. As I stagger to the back of the boat I am still pulling on gloves and beginning to feel quite stressed.

Anyway, into the water I go still trying to get one glove done up, which I manage, only to find I have drifted past the shot. So, by the time I get back to the shot I am panting quite heavily as the current was fairly strong and feeling even more stressed. My buddy has already headed down to wait at the bottom of the shot so now I am trying to play catch up. I am panting so heavy that I need to pull myself down the shot to get under the water. My only thought being that once I hit the wreck I can chill out for a minute and get my act together. In my efforts to catch up I have been pulling myself down the shot without checking my gauges or anything for that matter.

At this point I should mention that I am using twin 10s with a 3 ltr deco bottle in a “toblerone” config. There is a bailout reg on each post. I have redundancy in spades.

As I approach abt 30 mtrs (max depth 35 mtrs) I think “that’s unusual, it is not normally that hard to breath through the mask”. By the time I have figured out what is going on I get the ”Oh fuck, I’m out of gas” flashing across my brain and having just exhaled I find I can suck nothing back into my lungs. With fully deflated lungs I at last react and reach for the gas switch to move over to another bottle – even if it is the 80% one. Unfortunately with the onset of panic and my new gas switch and wearing gloves I can not remove the safety catch.

I can assure you that at this time I was not a happy bunny. OK give up on the switch and go for backup regs. Reach down into “the triangle” but can not find any of the 3 regs as they have ALL come out of their retaining clips – FFS. There briefly followed some very fast arm sweeping but as I am flat on the sea bed this has no success at all.

A moment of insight hits me and I remember thinking “of fuck, I’m going to die” . Just then, in the gloom, I see my buddy coming into view through the gloom and the lovely sight of his yellow octopus reg. I ditched my FFM and made it over to him PDQ and ripped the reg from its holder. By this time I was having to fight my body to prevent it trying to breathe water. I can tell you from experience I would have pulled his jaw off his face in order to get at a reg – there is no longer any rational thought at that time.

What a relief – air, mmmmmm. I was not at all interested in investigating what had gone wrong + my contacts had washed out which meant my vision was somewhat impaired so I said up and he had to abort his dive. I didn’t even bother with my backup mask.

To cut a long story short – in my morning rush messing about with the hoses I had connected them up back to front and been breathing off the 3 ltr during the descent. I ditched and replaced all the reg clips straight after that dive.

For those who care, the following day was my test dive for the TDI course and I passed. Also, on that fateful dive the shot had missed the wreck and I don’t think anyone found it.

Of course I have taken steps to remedy all faults, both mine and with my kit selection, and am a much better diver because of it – you couldn’t be any worse than on that occasion and expect to live. I did some stupid things and ignored some of the most basic things we are taught as beginners. I couldn’t believe I had done what I did - and I thought I was an OK diver at that time.

Beat that if you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Imported post

I'm glad you didn't tell me that story before last year's trip on the Girl Gray!
Lucky escape!

Rgds

Robert
 

·
"hardly ever here"
Joined
·
799 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000080'>i don't know, i read it thinking how easy it would be to do  


i mean, getting two hoses mixed up when you've got - how many? eight or so?

stupid - yes. should have checked - yes. but definitely easy to do. obviously the moral of the story is don't rush - but of course that's often easier said than done.

glad the story had a happy ending though!

most stupid thing i've done... maybe when i forget to change my computer back to air after switching it to nitrox for the previous dive. got away with it though as had tables in my pocket (and a buddy)

or it could be the time i was working as a divemaster, and we had four or five wrecks which we dived regularly.  we had a dive time for each of the wrecks, 25 mins for one, 33 for another, etc. etc. my problem came when i didn't bother to check the times any more - and of course got them mixed up. nearly took a group of open water divers into decompression. so careless  
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

Shee-yit! that's scary just sitting behind the 'puta. But... I have to say that it's worth highlighting the presence of mind you had to remove the FFM and make for your buddy, some folk would have just frozen and died.
I think that could happen to many people, personally I prep my kit the night before and rarely if ever bother changing things around the morning of a dive, not least of all to avoid the stress you've indicated.

I had a near-deathe experience at divers hole by Weasel Loch, big surge pushed me and my buddy at verry high speed through a gap about two foot wide , no problem if you can see where you're going but the sea had turned to milk. Once got pulled out of the water by RNLI too was stuk between an incoming curent and an outgoing one, couldn't move anywhere plus I had two trainees with me
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,140 Posts
Imported post

One of our lot did that last year, put her 3l pony reg into her mouth, not her main one.  She thankfully twigged what was going on before she ran out of air at 30m when her gauge wasn't going down. A quick cheque of her pony gauge told her what was happening!

On the forgetting to switch computers, there is some great video footage around of someone at 50m with his aladin Pro Nitrox showing %CNS 125. He had not switched back to air after a dive on 36% the previous day! Thankfully again this computer was his back up so that is why we can laugh now and the dive was continued.

Paul

Paul
 

·
Not as tall in real life
Joined
·
4,059 Posts
Imported post

Shiiiitttt.....

Now that is scary especially when you consider the other things that could have gone wrong (like it wasn't bad enough!!),  so am I correct in thinking that the pony you were breathing on descent was 80%?

Well thank god you got away with it and walked away a wiser man.  The only truly bad mistakes are the ones that we do not learn from (or the ones that kill us  
)

Although many of us do not end up in the situation you experienced or hopefully anything close,  I have seen quite a few people who struggle with little quirks in their kit setup, and because they consider them "minor" they do not do anything about it.  Everytime I discover something that is not quite right I try to come up with a solution to resolve the problem.  

This can be completely trivial such as difficulty opening a zip on a pocket, not potentially life threatening but easily resolved with a bit of thought and in a high stress situation when I am trying to get a reel/smb or backup cutting device out it could stop the decline into the so called incident pit.

Just my idle observations.

Daz,
 

·
more weaselly than a weaselly thing
Joined
·
3,628 Posts
Imported post

Finny.... we've all done it mate. I know someone <cough> who managed to jump in on 70m mix dive with his dil and O2 turned off. This idiot <cough> also managed to have his bailout tank turned off.... in fact.. the only tank that was on was his suit inflation.

Suffice to say, that after about 2 mins without gas.... having arrested the descent at about 12m, this idiot <cough> managed to turn on every valve he had. I think he <cough> uncramped his sphincter by about 20 mins into the dive ;)
 

·
A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
Joined
·
15,343 Posts
Imported post

Kitting up stress is a major cause of diving cockups.

Three major points.

1: You WERE a total novice with a FFM

2: You kept your brain in gear and DID NOT QUIT

3: You have obviously lernt shead loads and are not to proud
   to admit it.  

Very admarable qualities in a diver IMHO

Richard Pyles story about his major bend beats yours into a tin hat for stupidity and poor preporation and he's considered a prety good diver.

My two stories about trying to kill my self pale into insignificance compaired to yours so I wont bore you with the details but one was kit prep related due to rushing to kit up. The other was failing to lay a guide line and getting lost inside a wreck solo diving for which I strugle to find any excuse.

ATB

Mark Chase
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Imported post

Finless,

I know where you're coming from on that one although not to, what could be have been in our instance such fatal consequences.Did the same thing on my IANTD test dive at Stoney - wrong kit configuration - dry suit hose wouldn't fit - shoulder straps not done up on wing - to much weight ( I would like to point out that I did borrow somebody else's kit), by the time I got in the water I was completely stressed out, failed big time. We all make mistakes, it is after all human nature, and hopefully live to dive another day.  

Dive safe always

Steve
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (daz @ Feb. 18 2004,17:33)]..so am I correct in thinking that the pony you were breathing on descent was 80%?
Yes - 80% but it was over so quickly that there was not enough time to get oxtoxed. In actual fact it may have been 100% - I would need to dig out the log to check it.

My brain was truly in neutral that day!!

I was fortunate in that I had a dive booked for the next day so I was back in the saddle straight away - so to speak.

The bit that worries me most now is that I will never understand how I screwed everything up (thank you in advance Rob YBOD Evans for your kind consoling comments  
). I can live with screwing up the feeds to my gas switch but what I can't accept (even now) is how I was unable to utilise all the redundancy options I carried - absolutely bloody useless.

Reacted to slow, panicked and my drills were obviously not rehearsed well enough. The time wasted not believing what was happening was the killer - I did not leave myself enough time to figure it out.

Suffice to say I have it sorted now.
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Chase @ Feb. 18 2004,18:45)]Richard Pyles story about his major bend beats yours into a tin hat for stupidity and poor preporation and he's considered a prety good diver.
Mark,

I don't believe I have read that story about Richard Pyle - if you have link to it I would like to have a look.

Also, any situation is significant when it happens to you.

Rgds
Bryan
 

·
A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
Joined
·
15,343 Posts

·
Grumbler-chief in Residence
Joined
·
1,969 Posts
Imported post

Ya know finless, we all wonder what we will do / react if................

When it happens, and sure as eggs are eggs it will, it is nice to know that you will stay cold enough to remain alive.

Given a choice I would always want to be in the water with somebody who tells me a story about the stupid mistake they have made that NEARLY killed them.

The person who looks horrified and tells me how stupid it was that the kit wasn't checked properly is the one who would worry me the most.

Andrew
 

·
That's Dude with an E
Joined
·
12,959 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (andyp @ Feb. 18 2004,23:27)]Given a choice I would always want to be in the water with somebody who tells me a story about the stupid mistake they have made that NEARLY killed them.
Thats OK then Andy, you'll be alright diving with me, l'll tell you all about it during our red sea gig next week (major cluster f**k)............... or is it next month............or even the end of April........l can't wait.......

Now l think about it almost every dive and it has def. has made me a safer diver.

The carzy thing is that in the odd occasion that l comment about twins configuration or buddy diving in threes my opinion normally gets overuled..........and l can't be bothered to explain why my reasoning.......however its normally a v.good reason based on a bad experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Imported post

Bryan,  

I've had a theory for a while and your story seems to fall into this catergory. The few seconds you had to react and make a decision - that written down looks like ages conforms to this. If you think of some of the other "adreniline" sports - take climbing for example; when you are "in the zone" making a difficult move - your levels of awareness, hightened concentration and maybe reaction are already at their absolute peak or should be. In diving we generaly load up, tell gags and lark about and then all goes quiet as you climb into your gear. No problems, everythings hunky-dorry. We then have heightened stress levels as you and half a ton of kit tries to move effortlessly towards the water. But seconds after getting in and sinking a few feet down the shot it's all nice and relaxed. You drop to whatever depth, find the wreck, orientate yourself and then we simply relax and enjoy (ever heard your breathing on a video track - its probably slower than when your sitting in your armchair watching it). We swim along totally happy then BANG - somethings gone wrong.

This is were diving is different from other "high risk" sports. Taking the climber, they are already aware of the potential risks and will be almost ready to react to a problem. Divers - it hits them like a ton of bricks. I feel (I don't have any medical proof of this..yet) that some divers take this adreneline hit much worse than others. The way you describe things sounds like you took it in a "positive" manner but I wonder how many people take that 0-90mph hit and just freeze or loose it there and then. I know I've personally pulled bodies out who's kit is perfect, loads of air/gas and all things seemingly normal but something somewhere has gone catastrophically wrong and they've paid the ultimate price.
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Imported post

[EDIT]Tks for being .... kind and taking the positive view. As it happens there is unlikely to be a harsher critic of me than myself which is why I didn't mind sharing my "shame" with everyone as no one could say anything worse than what I have already said to myself many times.

The sad point (for me) abt this incident was actually my woeful lack of response when there was still time to react - I just did not accept that I was running out of gas.

I probably had 3 or 4 breaths from wondering to actually knowing - they were pretty quick breaths as I was still puffing from the fight back to the shot. By the time I started trying to figure out what had happened I had no time left.

There are extenuating circumstances in my defence but very few. Due to previous problems with my FFM and breathing rates ranging from free flow to sucking a pebble I had some excuse for a little confusion. If you never breathed anything dry I would give a try in the pool.

Key points for me were :-

Breath test your kit on the boat and then leave it alone.

Don't get stressed rushing to catch up with your buddy - if you are not happy with your kit through rushing things stop and sort it.

If you are knackered at the shot line then wait until you have caught your breath before descnding OR if conditions are lumpy do it at 3 to 6 mtrs.

Check your back up/bail out options are still in the clips they are supposed to be.

Check your guages.

Make sure your brain is "in gear".

It's not rocket science, it's all in the learner manuals - just because it has never happened does not mean it won't in future.

I trust you are all better prepared than I was, but, there again, that would not be difficult. If I were you I would be a LOT better prepared than I was that day
.
 

·
Street Cleansing Operative
Joined
·
4,427 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000080'>Bryan,

Without a doubt one of the most frightening diving tales I've heard. I suppose you don't hear too many of them as most don't live to tell the tale. But for an attentive buddy what chance would you have had?

There's a lesson in there for all those buddies who seem to think there's no problem with charging off to the very edge of visibility and just checking on your partner every couple of minutes.

My philosophy is always have your buddy in view and in reach!
(Unless they're a photographer of course! Bloody buggers just won't keep up!)

Thanks for sharing it.
 

·
Shipwrecked & Comatose, drinking fresh mango juice
Joined
·
2,614 Posts

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Chase @ Feb. 18 2004,23:22)]A serious case of 'Your kidding you didnt realy do that did you?'

http://diver.ocean.washington.edu/bendstory.html

ATB

Mark Chase
Mark,

Thanks for posting the link - a very interesting and sobering read.

I must admit I would not think of recompressing in water. I think I might do a little research on the subject.

Rgds
Bryan
 

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Imported post

Bryan
came to this one a bit late, surprised the pony ran out so quickly, guess it just shows what sort of breathing rate we can rack up in a stressed situation. I wonder if the fact you were, up to a point, breathing 100/80% stopped you getting narked, all the ingredients were there for it to happen big time.

Glad it/you worked it out OK.

Matt
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top