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Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by divezonescuba, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Can't Talk ... Diving

    Can't Talk ... Diving Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: West Coast
  2. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Miami
    Went back to find this video from the Vision posted earlier. At least on that vessel, the forward centerline galley window is tilted open (clearly visible at the 1:43 mark). Also, again at least on that vessel, it would be an option to turn left coming out of the forward stairs and get into the shower area forward, which based on prior comments may have had an additional escape hatch.

    And in that case, about a third of the vessel would have already been on fire - the section directly over the passenger quarters. At that point it's questionable whether any alternative emergency exit setup would have helped.

    Sure. Make sure to do this chainsaw test in a pitch-black compartment with 30 or more people around you. Might want to have them write names on their extremities in sharpie first so the reattachment surgeons have it easier. Sorry to be sarcastic, but think hard about that one.
    StefinSB, Kmart921, CSandE and 8 others like this.
  3. ChrisM

    ChrisM Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA

    Yes. A friend posted on Facebook that when she wakes up in the middle of the night in a hotel room sometimes it’s hard to even find the bathroom. Add to this yelling and smoke and ..... quite chaotic and rational thought likely impossible
    DanBMW, CSandE, Lorenzoid and 3 others like this.
  4. Ron Lee

    Ron Lee Contributor

    There are ways to illuminate the area. Backup lighting systems not tied to the ship electrical system. Of course you can do nothing have have 100% of the people in that area die because there is no way out of a lethal situation. I am not sure what you call that case but it is not good.

    I am perfectly capable of using a chain saw. Benign conditions...minimal risk to myself or others. Just set up a couple of people to keep others away.
  5. Joneill

    Joneill ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Jersey, USA
    Maybe they were afraid to just jump because it was so shallow - most seemed to be taking more time trying to lower themselves so the drop was short - at least until it really flared and then folks were jumping (wisely as twisting an ankle or breaking a leg was the least of their worries at that point).
  6. Gnarcosis

    Gnarcosis Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Northern Arizona
    It’s too true. I spend 300+ nights a year in nearly as many hotels, and often wake up and cannot recall the layout of the room I’m in.

    A few weeks back I was so annoyed at the guy in the room next to me, as his alarm was going off for what felt like hours, and it was shaking the wall between our rooms. When I snapped out of my haze I realized that it was the fire alarm. Thankfully whatever he had done was confined to his room, but it scares me to think how out of it I am in the mornings. I try to always have a fair degree of situational awareness, but if something half as tragic as this happened while I was asleep, I think I’d be in trouble.
    CSandE, infieldg and Esprise Me like this.
  7. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch

    And no food, and no live aboard.
  8. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    Don't forget the water coming in from the other side of the bulkhead, might need a waterproof electric chain saw.

    Esprise Me likes this.
  9. Texas Torpedo

    Texas Torpedo Pollo Grande Tejano! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: College Station, Texas
    Pardon thy rant..
    I haven't seen this much at SB, but jeezus, there's a lot of it everywhere else, more often by the usual non-diving suspects, with nothing better to do, and the media... Anyone who wants to auto-blame the crew for bailing out should be ashamed. I was severely burned in 2012 and I have never blamed anyone for not coming in to get me when I was calling out for help and the fire was burning. There were plenty that helped once I got clear but you can't expect people to walk into an inferno without bunker gear. (Fire department was in route but not there) It'll just add to to the body county. Seriously... Unless you have been seriously burned or faced real heat, you don't really know. If someone was derelict or it washes out that there was poor maint. after the Coast Guard inspection, I'll be a critic, but I can't even imagine what the crew is dealing with right now. I know the families and friends are in hell essentially too but I've read a lot of the "Captain and crew should go down with the ship" talk. (I've been sick and I'm catching up)

    On the topic of batteries:
    The Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) angle is plausible. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and others that are hard cased - not so much. I've been using large capacity Li-Po's in R/C helis, planes and multi-rotors since they originally came out and finally gained the mAh and C-rating needed to equal nitro motors. I know people who burned their houses down with these when leaving LiPo's unattended on charge, though the chargers are better now. I've seen crashed planes and helis with Li-Po's fireball shortly after a crash. The first thing we do when one goes down is run over to it and yank out the Li-Po. They are great batteries but NEVER leave them unattended when charging unless contained. We started using a variety of other lithium chemistry batteries (A123's, etc) but none of them have the same discharge rate.

    I have a $500ish charger that balances and has temp sensors for thermal shutoff, yet I never charge a large capacity LiPo battery unattended. The chargers I've seen (and owned) for many dive related li-po batteries are passive, without any type of cell-balance in the charger, and certainly no "fail safe" in the way of thermal shutoff protection. IF a LiPo DPV battery was over-charged or shorted, it would be nasty. (NOTE: I'm not current with all the latest and greatest dive gear electronics so this now may be incorporated, especially on high-end DPV's) Just thought I'd touch on my experience with these batteries.

    I have Zero idea if this was the cause and I still wish I had purchased a Li-Po for my Cuda. I trust the batteries. Just not the chargers.

    R.I.P. to everyone who perished... And to my fellow Texas Swamp Diver, Neal Baltz + his girlfriend. You mentioned him previously, Frank. @Wookie . For some reason I thought he had been crew on the Spree when still in TX, as well as the Fling. I think his stories were the first time(s) I heard about either boat, and the Flower Gardens.

    Names now released so original post reinstated by Mod
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  10. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Miami
    "Benign conditions" and "lethal situation" are not synonyms. In the situation you are discussing the compartment may be obscured by smoke rendering the emergency lighting ineffective. Also, I presume in your emergency briefing at departure you will assign specific passengers with the responsibility of grabbing a power tool in a crowded space under emergency conditions, lest a half-dozen people all start grabbing for the thing at once. Also, in this situation the entire length of the deck above is on fire, which begs the question of whether conditions below are even survivable at that point.

    At a certain point, you will hit a level of catastrophe that safety systems cannot handle. I can have the safest, sturdiest 75-ft dive vessel imaginable with easy-to-use emergency exits, but if I get hit by a rogue wave, drive it into a Cat 5 hurricane, or get run over by the QM2 that's it. Whatever caused the fire in this instance, by the time anyone reacted to it the crew was apparently unable to get off the bridge except by jumping off (which probably explains the reported broken ankle and broken leg among the five survivors) and nobody from below got out of the two available exits separated by about 1/3 the length of the vessel. Either every alert system available - fire/smoke detectors, the anchor watch, the passengers below - failed to detect a small fire in sufficient time to effect an evacuation, or whatever happened was large and catastrophic. That will be a matter for investigators to discern.

    The most effective way to prevent a recurrence of this will be to determine the cause (or potential causes) and speed of the fire and institute measures to prevent a similar casualty. After that, modifications to the emergency exit system may be reviewed - something that doesn't involve building the hull thin enough to cut through or swinging around high-voltage power tools in crowded spaces.
    CSandE, rjack321, DebbyDiver and 2 others like this.
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