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It finally happened - my CCR tried to kill me

Discussion in 'Rebreather Diving' started by stuartv, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    I would say what you brought influenced your decision-making which in hindsight was suboptimal. If you'd brought a deco gas would you still have gone back to a compromised loop? 45minutes at 100+ feet is not a trivial dive to do without a deco gas. Personally if I'm going into deco I bring a deco gas (plus an 80 of bottom gas). If it's <20mins of deco usually an al40. More than 20-25mins of deco and I bring an 80 of deco gas (usually 50%). (edit: for wreck or wall profiles like your dive)

    People don't die bailing out. People die either staying on or going back to compromised CCRs. I get that you hear a lot of "stay on the loop" blather on the internet. But if you bring the right BOs there is no reason to risk your life doing so. Your mistake to me started with bringing only 18/45 BO for a deco dive. The volume was fine yes, but the mix made you debate using it for the ascent and biased your options about bailing. That's how you ended up using a potentially fatal loop far longer than you should have.
  2. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    I have 100% done this as well. I am not as diligent about bubble checks as I should be
  3. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lexington, SC
    Yes, I totally get your point. But, I will say that even if I had brought my 80 of 50% (which I had also been diving with the 2 prior days, but left in the truck for the "shallow" dive), I believe I still would have gone back on the loop. I was really in doubt about whether anything was wrong with the loop at all. I was second-guessing myself and thinking that maybe it was breathing perfectly fine.

    NOW, I know what breathing on a partly flooded loop feels like. But, at the time, that possibility did not occur to me. It wasn't gurgling, like it often ends up doing when I have a relatively small amount of water in the exhale side. In the moment, it just did not occur to me that the unit might be flooded. It wasn't gurgling and the breathing was only harder to the degree that I thought it SEEMED like MAYBE it wasn't breathing as normal.

    As well, it may be that I am forgetting part of my original training, but I don't REMEMBER anything in my original training that really went into detail on a partly flooded unit. My recollection is that it was just kind of assumed that if you flooded your unit you would know it - even if that meant finding out by getting a splash of caustic in your mouth. As I said, though, that may just be me not remembering what was said about it. It was over 2 years ago now.

    I don't think I'll make that mistake (of going back onto a flooded loop) again. I've had just a splash of ordinary saltwater cause my airway to spasm shut momentarily. The idea of inhaling any caustic - well, in that situation that I was in, I agree that I probably would not have made it out of the water alive. At best, BADLY bent.
  4. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lexington, SC
    Thank you. I know that you weren't and aren't holding yourself out there as the perfect model everyone should aspire to be like, but I appreciate this anyway. :)
    rjack321 likes this.
  5. fsardone

    fsardone Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Rome, Italy
    You are correct, in my haste to reply I should have said the only failure in the decision making ...
    So I believe you should have stayed on BO. If you have enough gas and not a too big deco obligation why would you go back on the loop? OC is safer. But staying on the loop is the focus of advanced CCR training.

    And this is rather a good point.
    I do assemble my unit the night before so I have enough time to correct any discrepancy, this notwithstanding sometime .... Our units talk to us, mine a few days ago was technically passing the negative test, at least by the book, but I noticed that the convoluted hoses did not stay compressed even if the membrane of the ADV would stay depressed pretty much for an indefinite time ....
    I did a couple of dives (maybe I should not have done so ....) but this fact was nagging me ... so I removed the T pieces and the overpressure valves then replaced the seals and reassembled a 3-hour job. Now convoluted hoses stay compressed. Even before doing so I had no bubbles in positive test and was passing positive and negative tests but I was not happy because it was not my usual outcome for the hoses. We need to listen.

    Preventive maintenance is much better than corrective maintenance!

    Cheers and glad it was just a learning change rather than source of sorrow!

  6. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Thanks for the post. And this is why I sold my CCR. I didn't need this angst in my life; the rewards were nowhere near the potential downside.
    Geo7 and John C. Ratliff like this.
  7. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    This sort of reminds me of the first rEvo failure I had. Brand new, never been in the water, an hour or two into my first class. What does everything do, how to build it. The battery holder caught the lip of the scrubber cover and didn't let it sit in place correctly. Just a little bit off fully seated. Probably very much like your O2 bottle being out of place. Mine actually failed the negative and we started looking for the problem. Wasn't a solid fail, it would pull a negative, just not hold it strong. Since this was the first night of class, it was just about the first thing I learned (and it IS the first thing I learned by failure). Now lots of lid inspection, clearance checking, fully seated, how does the cover nut fit, etc.
    cathal, stuartv and shoredivr like this.
  8. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    This was my takeaway.
    We can argue about his choice of BO, but if what he carried allowed him to complete his dive, even at the cost of added deco time, I can't argue with the choice. We don't plan to bail out, although we plan to deal with bailout. That said, doesn't look like an AL80 of 18/45 was enough unless we ignore the Helium penalty.

    But ignoring that little niggly thing that didn't seem like much at the time? This case was nice reinforcement for following the steps and ensuring that each step is nominal before proceeding.

    Thanks, @stuartv
  9. michael-fisch

    michael-fisch ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Finally Lake City FL
    You are very lucky that you didn't inhale the caustic cocktail.
    I did, and after driving myself to the nearest university hospital, I could no longer speak and arrived with an O2 concentration of 43%. Operation to check for damage to my esophagus and vocal cords. was on 6-7lpm of O2 in order to keep my O2 concentration near 90% with 2 doctors next to my bed in the recovery room all night. 7 days later I was discharged to therapy which took over 6 weeks before I could speak again.
    My next diving physical was a team effort involving a thin scan CT & ENT, Cardiology, and Pneumology professors 5 months later.
    Finally figured out that a not fully opened Golem Gear DSV caused the leak down into the counterlung and going head down for 1 breath was enough to almost kill me.

  10. ofg-1

    ofg-1 Course Director

    Damn thing tried to kill you? Get even, set it on fire.
    HKGuns likes this.

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