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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. lexvil

    lexvil Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    What I was saying is the investigators do amazing work and my point being that they can take an aluminum streak off the side of a mountain and come up with a plausible scenario as to the cause I have faith that those NTSB investigators will come up with a likely cause more than a bunch of scared people on SB, my guess is it was caused by a faulty Suunto:cool:
    Diving Dubai, Tricia and DebbyDiver like this.
  2. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I did answer it, in the affirmative, as I did when I owned similar liveaboards.
    DebbyDiver and rjack321 like this.
  3. hammet

    hammet Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Why would the hatch to the engine compartment be raised above deck level?
  4. cerich

    cerich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    they often are on smaller vessels. you can make an access point to the engine that is less likely to leak water when the decks are awash.
    Satrekker, eleniel and Bob DBF like this.
  5. Bruce Alan

    Bruce Alan Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Middletown, CA 95461
    I never liked sleeping belowdeck, might be different with my own Sailboat (someday - if I find the right Lady investor), but if I ever dive a charter again, I'll be sleeping on one of the benches on the SunDeck, keeping the fish awake with my snoring...
    This event is not going to be easy to forget, and that's from someone that wasn't even there.
    I feel badly for the 5 crew. Glad they survived, but know the event will never be forgotten.
    Tricia, Julie T, eleniel and 4 others like this.
  6. dberry

    dberry Hydrophilic ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Philadelphia
    This post may be getting more off-topic, but with all the talk about batteries as potentially the initial cause of this tragedy, here's some food for thought when thinking about remedies for the future.

    Extinguishing lithium battery fires is something that has bothered for me some time. I'm a chemist and my labs regularly work with highly reactive metals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and lithium. @stuartv mentioned he's played around tossing bits of sodium or potassium into water ("kids don't try this at home"). Unlike sodium or potassium, lithium metal bubbles only slowly when dunked in water, and would appear to be the least reactive. We can't use standard water or CO2 fire extinguishers in my labs, they would just add "fuel to the fire", since those metals will even rip oxygen out of CO2 (it's a great lecture demo, btw). Blowing CO2 onto a metal fire isn't that much different than using water (or even air) - the fire just gets hotter. We have to use "metal-X" dry chemical extinguishers (ca. $800 each).

    Lithium is quite an odd-ball. The problem is lithium can react ("burn") to pull oxygen out of the stuff in most dry chemical extinguishers, and even out of GLASS (I've seen it). Hint: Glass is melted sand. "Smothering" a Li fire with sand will not put it out. To a lithium fire, SAND is just another source of oxygen. There are special extinguishers for lithium fires ("Lith-X") that basically smother the fire with powdered graphite.

    Ansul Red Line 30 lb. Lith-X Dry Chemical Cartridge Fire Extinguisher - Monroe Extinguisher

    So, if a bad Li battery ignites while being charged on a dive boat, your only realistic hope is to toss them overboard, pronto (unless you keep a very special extinguisher on hand, AND notice the fire before it spreads to all the other cells being charged nearby.)

    We all want smaller, lighter batteries with longer run-times for our torches, phones, and computers, but There Aint No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL). You pack all that energy into a small package, and if there's a failure, all the energy can be released in an incredibly short amount of time. And you wonder why TSA is concerned about how and where you pack your Li-batteries when flying?
  7. Buoy_A

    Buoy_A Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Diego, CA, USA

    Both owned by Truth Aquatics, but not the same boat. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if the Conception had similar emergency hatch configuration.
    Tricia and DebbyDiver like this.
  8. Tripp09

    Tripp09 Aquanaut Naturalist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Antonio & Marco Island
    A quick conflagration uses an amazing amount of oxygen. The passengers may have succumbed to hypoxia and not been aware of what was happening. That is more comforting than the alternative. I hope the families of the survivors take some comfort in the fact that their loved ones were doing what they loved, and that the authorities ascertain the causes and recommend positive changes that benefit others in the future. Peace.
    Gdog, FinnMom, raftingtigger and 4 others like this.
  9. Buoy_A

    Buoy_A Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Diego, CA, USA
    Agreed. So far I've read:
    1. That Truth Aquatics had a 100% fatality rate among paying customers
    2. That The Conception was poorly maintained based on a short video (of the wrong boat no less)
    3. That the operator compromised safety for revenue by stuffing as many people into a dive boat when there is ZERO evidence that the number of people was a factor

    EDIT: Agreed that the thread has taken an unfortunate turn, not that it should be shut down.
    Gdog, Julie T, eleniel and 3 others like this.
  10. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    For those calling the bunk quarters a death trap. Given the fire, even if there had been two exits that were easily egressed people might not have survived. It is pretty clear that no one sleeping in the bunk quarters survived, not even the two people who were sleeping in the bunks under the hatch*. For those two not survive it out indicates the fire in galley/salon was pretty massive. The point being, while access to the hatch is justly of concern it may be moot given the other circumstances.

    A similar point can be made about the both egress points being at the ends of the galley/salon. I.e why was one not outside of the galley/salon? Even in a different location the fire as massive as it was may have prevented egress.

    These points will surely be something the NTSB will be looking at.

    *An assumption on my part given the the boat was "full" with 34 divers. Edit - as pointed out by cerich four were found in the water. So more correct even the two who slept under the hatch did not survive.

    Edit - Roak nice to have you chime. We were writing similar thoughts at the same time.
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