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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. HKGuns

    HKGuns Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Merica
    I hope you are wrong. There are already clues and I'm sure one or more of the crew members knows something that hasn't been released. If breakfast preparation didn't start until 5am, as stated above, that pretty much leaves the door wide open to anything as the source of ignition. I refuse to speculate or offer solutions.
    DebbyDiver, Kensei, Tricia and 2 others like this.
  2. Louisville Diver

    Louisville Diver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Louisville
    "The Beverly Hills Supper Club operated without incident for many years before burning up with hundreds of people inside. Surely that must count for something in the safety record. And what about the Triangle Shirtwaist operation, doing fine for so long?"
    kafkaland, CZS, nicbec and 2 others like this.
  3. DiveFlyDive

    DiveFlyDive Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth

    CG: Roger, are they locked inside the boat?

    Vessel: (Unintelligible)

    CG: Roger, can you get back on board and unlock the doors so they can get off?

    Vessel: (Unintelligible)

    CG: Roger, you don't have any firefighting gear at all, no fire extinguishers or anything?”

    It seems that the coastguard operator was hearing the replies clearly... this is very ominous. Surely they didn’t lock the hatch?
  4. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    While your points are well taken, you are conflating issues. The vessel in question met the safety requirements as specified in the CFRs. At this point the NTSB will look at the incident and out of that changes may come in the form of new CFRs because the current requirements are possibly inadequate. For instance, aircraft must be able to evacuate X PAX in Y seconds. Perhaps there needs to be similar requirements for sea faring vessels with PAX in berths. I could also see a requirement that there must direct vertical access (clearance) to a hatch of Z inches (i.e. one can not crawl into a bunk first). This might mean the top bunk on both sides of the hatch are removed and the hatch made wider so two people can egress at the same time. Or the six bunks are removed and replaced by three perpendicular with steep dual ladder leading to a hatch.

    There are many variables to consider. Which unless one has very close ties to the industry I doubt most understand. But again the vessel in question met the safety requirements.
    Gdog, raftingtigger and rjack321 like this.
  5. DrMack

    DrMack Angel Fish

    This is the type of speculation that I think is healthy for us to discuss, even if at the end of this investigation it turns out to be something else altogether. We are aware of how dangerous lithium ion batteries are, especially during the charging phase. I think I have met more photographers who are divers than I have divers who are photographers. There are few situations in our society where we might see a higher concentration of such devices in an especially hostile environment than a dive boat at sea. My gut feeling that I know is shared by many in our sport, is that industry standards for stowing and managing lithium ion battery powered equipment are inadequate. The aviation community continues to understand and mitigate the risks of this technology far better than the marine industry at present. We should learn from the aviators and perhaps even one-up their initiatives.
  6. DrMack

    DrMack Angel Fish

    The "get back on board" remark indicates that the call was made from off the Conception, a handheld perhaps? Or possibly from the Grape Escape. That would also explain the negative response to the question about whether fire suppression equipment was at hand.
  7. Johnoly

    Johnoly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    There also is no 'boom' when Lithium batts explode to wake someone up. There is just huge fire ball in all directions.
  8. Tricia

    Tricia Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Paris, France
    Thank you for the video Somesbar. It truly gives you a feel for what the poor people would have had to go through to get out through the galley and salon.
  9. doctormike

    doctormike ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    I think that you are making a good point, and an even better historical analogy is the Coconaut Grove fire, in terms of longstanding impact on regulations. 492 dead. Read about it.

    A lot of the building codes we have today come in some way from that, like egress doors and exit markings. Not to mention big advances in the medical and surgical management of burn injuries...

    "Other avenues of escape were similarly useless; side doors had been bolted shut to prevent people from leaving without paying. A plate glass window, which could have been smashed for escape, was boarded up and unusable as an emergency exit. Other unlocked doors, like the ones in the Broadway Lounge, opened inwards, rendering them useless against the crush of people trying to escape. Fire officials would later testify that had the doors swung outwards, at least 300 lives could have been spared."

    I know that we tend to get defensive in the wake of a tragedy like this, especially if we have had good experiences with the dive op before. I'm not ready to place blame yet, and we obviously don't have all of the information. But I would certainly be interested in hearing what more experienced mariners have to say about that bunk room layout. Just like dive accident analysis, this is how we learn, this is how we do better.
  10. bigDave

    bigDave Nassau Grouper

    A safety "record" is exactly that. Nothing is 100% safe. A lot of incidents arise due to factors that were unforeseen when the safety systems were put in place.

    Look at this incident. Had this been an ordinary fire (kitchen for example), it likely would not have grown so quickly. If the fire had not grown so quickly, the crew would have organized an evacuation. However this happened, the crew had no chance to evacuate the passengers - they barely escaped and several suffered significant injuries in the process.

    Is it common to leave batteries on charge overnight? If so, perhaps that practice should be forbidden.
    HKGuns and chillyinCanada like this.
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