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Thread: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

  1. #21
    Christian Rasmussen depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth is just really nice depth's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    I do not know all the details of the specific dive, but I believe that rebreathers saved the three Finish divers in Plura a few years ago.

    Because of the problems they faced at depth, the three surviving divers accumulated a lot more deco than planned. One of the divers was in the water for almost 10 hours. I don't think any of them would have survived that on OC.

    R.I.P. to the two divers that didn't survive. What a tragic day.

    /Christian

  2. #22
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    OK, here is another one:

    Eagles Nest incident, Feb 7, 2015

    As most of you already know, I am not shy about posting my mistakes and screw ups for everyone’s enjoyment and education. In this instance I will keep my buddy anonymous by just calling him "Gizmo".


    We had planned to continue our exploration beyond the end of the line on the downstream side and in an area called Revelation Space. I wanted to check the other direction in a small restriction that I had previously explored and Gizmo had a hankering to look in another area.


    This was the fourth time that I had been back there and the second time for Gizmo. I had absolutely no worries or concerns as to the abilities of either of us to be able to pull this dive off safely and without incident. We did our planning and bailout gas calculations and had more than enough gas and then some on top of that too.
    Day 1 - Set up dive to get stages in place. I was to lead and gizmo would follow. I brought my BOB (Bailout Rebreather) to give it a good test on this dive. I made a trip to 30' and dropped the two tanks of oxygen. Our plan was for Gizmo to hang two tanks of 50% on the line at 70' while I secured the two tanks of 32% to the line at 130'. Gizmo would drop a tank of 21/35 just prior to the pit and I would drop the final stage of 15/55 at the end of the line.



    The only hiccup to this plan was that when I got to the first duck under and let off the scooter trigger I was negative as heck. I had to push off the rocks a couple of times as I was inflating to stay out of the silt. Yes, I know this was a big mistake. When I got to the pit, I stopped so Gizmo could drop his stage. I pointed to my stage and then to the rocky surface. Gizmo began unclipping his scooter and I just figured he was doing that to get at the stage. I suddenly looked and saw that he did not have a stage. In our convoluted conversation through the DSVs, I learned that he had dropped it prior to the duck under. We continued to the end of the line where I dropped my stage. We turned the dive, exited, and did out deco all without any further problems.


    Upon our swim back to the steps, I was horrified to see my reels still hanging on the railing. I did the dive without them.


    Day 2 - The big dive. I was going to bring my BOB again since it worked flawlessly the day before and this is the diving that I actually built it for. That plan changed when the revo dream would not turn on. I took BOB to my truck and grabbed another BO tank instead. Our dive plan called for us to turn the dive at 35 minutes from leaving the mound. This was only 5 minutes more than our previous exploration dive to this area, but it did add quite a bit of extra deco due to the depths involved. Originally, I was going to lead again since I have more experience here, but we made a change. Since I had the faster scooter, Gizmo would lead so that I could grab the 21/35 and move it further into the cave (as per our original plan) and still be able to catch up very quickly. This was not the most perfect plan since we would be separated momentarily, but in the interest of the timeframe it seemed appropriate at the time. This all went smoothly and we reached the end of the line to clip off the scooters and proceed through the restriction. We navigated the restriction, went through the halocline, went right at the T and made our way upward into Revelation Space. We went left at the next T (one we placed last dive when we ran line to finish going around the room). This is when Gizmo showed me his light was flickering. I immediately pulled my backup primary and handed it to him. His light came back on and he refused my light. I swam a bit before tying in and heading to the little restriction that I was there to explore. I went the opposite direction from my previous attempt and promptly found a serious dead end and silted myself out completely, much like the previous time. I slowly turned and came out of my silt cloud and untied my reel. I went to Gizmo who was filming the area. I looked at my runtime and signaled to turn the dive. I was leading the exit. Past the T, down the slope, past another T, through the halocline, and to the rock (or placement for the line) just before going through the restriction. I stopped and waited to make sure that Gizmo is on the proper side of the line to make the exit, since he had this problem on our last dive. I finally look back to see him on the other side of the halocline taking his sweet time and filming some more. I quickly swim toward him, point at my computer, and signal for him to follow me. I get back to the rock and when he gets next to me I place his right hand on the line before I go upward and out the restriction.


    My stage tank and scooter are very close to the exit area and when I come out I move myself sideways before grabbing my stuff. I clip my stage on and grab my scooter. I look up to make sure Gizmo is ready. I don't see him. I turn and look at the restriction to see if he is having problems getting out again. Nothing, not a damn thing anywhere. I cover my light and look up, look down, go up slightly and look again. Still nothing. This all seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only a few seconds. I finally caught a glimmer of light. It was left of the restriction and was moving further away. When I got to the light, I could see that Gizmo was trying to come up but could not get through. He was working his way along the crevice the wrong direction. I could see that the crevice opened up just a couple of feet further in the direction of his travel. When he reached this area, I could finally touch his hands. I grabbed his hand in an attempt to let him know that I was there. He was trying to get through but was not having much luck. Somehow the line is now in his left hand, and I see that he has removed a BO tank and has it in his right hand. I grab the tank and place it in the silt outside the crevice. I look at the opening and try to calculate if he will fit. I think he might be able to make it but he is keeping his head up and thus his RB tank are hitting the top. I reach down and grabbed the rebreather and forced his face into the silt. I began pulling and wiggling to get him out. I concluded that this was not going to work. In an attempt to communicate, I formed a fist and put his hand on top of it to signal hold. I then took his hand and rolled his fingers under to form his own fist. I grabbed his tank, swam it to the line, clipped it off, and headed into the zero vis restriction to go get him and lead him to the proper way out. The line was loose and pulled off the placement. I banged and thumped into everything in my effort to reach my buddy. I went what I thought was double the distance to reach him with no luck. Great, he got out and will be waiting for me. Now all I have to do is get my butt out of here too. I work my way out and the first thing I see is Gizmo's tank still clipped to the line. Crap, he did not get out. I cover my light and look all over. I even go up a bit and look towards the exit thinking he might have freaked out and took off. I see nothing and realize right then and there, that I have a seriously hard decision to make.



    Our planning had enough BO gas for my last little search effort, but I had already pushed everything to maximum. In the next few seconds I did all the calculations and thinking, which I ever want to do, in a situation like this. I remembered my training, it is better for one diver to die than two divers. How long do I stay in an effort to find him? He has kids and a wife, I have a girlfriend and cats. If I continue looking and my RB fails, I am dead, story over. I remember wishing that I had my BOB with me. I made an informed decision that Gizmo was leaving this cave with me, right now. I went back into the black, on a slack line, and went after him. This time I went deeper, into the bottom of the halocline room and to the back wall. I was out of the silt and could see the entire cloud that encased the restriction and the crevice. I swam all the way to the T and looked both directions for any sign of disturbance and thought to myself, that there is absolutely no way that there was any further travel either way. I returned to the outer edge of the cloud and wedged myself in the crevice. I began working my way toward the restriction. If Gizmo was there, I would have to find him. My hand felt something on the line. I quickly figured out that it was a ball from a reel. Hooray, Gizmo tied on and all I have to do is follow the line to get to him. As I fumble with the wad of lines to learn my new path, I find that it is now caught on my BO tank. In the short battle to pull it free, I discover that it was my own reel that unwound and got caught. Crap, well time to sort this out. Think again! My right fin has line in it too and it is wrapped around my leg. In the next minute or so, I lose control of my buoyancy and end up planted on the bottom, I inflate and plaster myself to the ceiling. I remove my fin, unwrap the line from my leg and replace my fin. Now all that is left is to get my reel loose. Z knife to the rescue and I am free again. I continue my pursuit of Gizmo but exit the area without him again.


    His tank is still there and I am struck with the realization that I am going to have to leave him there to die. There was nothing more that I could do. I looked at my computer and saw that my TTS was 540 minutes and was still a long way from the entrance. I left his tank there, just in case he did get to it, grabbed my stuff and hit the trigger. My head was in a real fog and I was already mourning the loss of my buddy. How do I explain this to his family? How much deco will I have? Am I going to get bent? Do not slow down for anything, I must get to my first deco stop ASAP.


    My first stop was 180'. I must say that trim, buoyancy, and stops were perfect and effortless. It is almost like someone or something was helping me. When I reached my 150' stop, I started to hear funny noises and seeing funny flickers. Great news, I am already have mental and visual disturbances. I guess that I am not getting out of here after all. It gets worse, and worse until I finally look up to see a diver. I put my hand out to the side, shine my light on my hand, and signal OK. I am not very sure about my state of mind at this point, but I really think that I heard through his DSV - Oh thank God! This is when it registered in my mind, that this diver might be Gizmo. He turned and headed back out. I could tell by the markings on his tank that it was him. All of the grief and funeral planning went away instantly and I was able to focus more on my own survival.


    I knew that my scrubber time could be stretched, but I had no idea when it was going to expire. Damn, where was that BOB when I really needed it? I knew that I was already effectively out of diluent. I knew that I still had plenty of oxygen. I knew that there were still a bunch of BO tanks for off board. I decided that plan of attack for deco would be. When I reached the mound and the 32%, I would off board it and dil flush to get the helium out faster. I would run high PO2 (1.3) from 70'. I would run high PO2 (1.4) from 50'. At 20' I would drop the PO2 to 1.0 and also do a couple of air breaks. At 10' would be pure O2.



    I only saw one tank when I reached the mound. No problem since I only needed one any way. Time to verify MOD and to my shock, I discovered it to be 50%. Well then, dil flush will have to wait until 70'. When I got to 70' and looked up, I could see Gizmos feet at the edge of the chimney. I pulled my slate, wrote 32% on both sides, pulled my SMB, pulled my reel, and sent it up. Gizmos saw it and brought a tank down to me. I did my dil flush, changed my computers and was extremely happy to see the TTS dropping drastically.


    The rest of deco was uneventful, long, and boring. I had my trusty MP3 player for tunes. I had a borrowed heated vest, which I am sure made the difference between a minor bend and a chamber ride or even death.


    When Gizmo cleared deco and exited the water, I still had 93 minutes at 10' to go. My total runtime was 530 minutes.


    I began feeling pain in my right shoulder during my 20’ stop. It got worse after the dive. I stopped at a gas station and bought aspirin and breathed 120cf of oxygen on the drive home. By the time I was home, the pain was pretty much gone. Both ankles and knees felt fatigued for a couple of days, but all seems fine now.


    I know that I made mistakes. I know that I made some bad decisions. I will learn from my mistakes, but I stand by my decisions and would do the same thing again without falter. The one thing that really bothers me about the entire thing is the fact that I was so focused on Gizmos BO tank being there, that I never once looked or noticed that his scooter was gone. I also never noticed that the stage tank of 21/35 was not present during my exit either.


    I later found out that one of my cats had died while I was in the cave. Perhaps she was the angel that was looking over me that day? Maybe if my BOB had turned on I would have made different decisions? These are questions that I will ask myself for a long time. I do not think that any diver can know for certain what their reactions and thought process will be during an incident. On a different day, maybe I would have done things differently. I am truly grateful that both Gizmo and I are able to be here today with no permanent physical damage, the mental damage will hopefully dwindle in time.


    I should clarify my thought process in regards to my deco and PO2 I used. I have lied to my computer about the helium percentage in the past, but this time was not going to be one of them. I know that helium will really penalize me with a lot of extra deco time and thus the switch to 32% for dil. I wanted to get the helium out of my body as quickly as possible to help limit my deco time. I am of the firm belief that getting shallow is very important in regards to having adequate OC gas in the event of a RB failure. I also belief that there is strong evidence of O2 seizures with high partial pressures of O2 at 20’ or deeper, but I belief there is much less evidence of such seizures at 10’. I think that CNS is highly subjective and I have been over 160% many times. I began running a higher than normal PO2 in an effort to get me out of the water faster. I knew that this would punish me with high CNS but I then went to 1.0 at 20’ and included a couple of dil flushes to somewhat equate to air breaks. Knowing that my 10’ stop would be my longest, I opted to run pure O2 at that time in hopes of not having an O2 seizure. I am not advocating this type of planning and have no scientific background or studies to back me up. This is all just what I have been able to learn and understand from all the information that is available. I was running a GF of 50/90 and pushed it via using the ceiling function on my Predators. Due to a couple of cells drifting, I was convinced that my actual GF was closer to 50/100 or 50/110 and from personal experience, I knew that I get little niggles at 100 GFs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    I could just be blowing smoke out my butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
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  3. #23
    Reads fine print (mostly) Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Don, many thanks for an outstanding lesson.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the purest reason for forums like this. We learn from honest others and then, in the privacy of our own hearts, resolve to profit from the experience of others to STAY ALIVE.

  4. #24
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Not a too much of dramatic story, but here it is.
    This was my 3rd rebreather dive in open water. A forest lake, not too deep, average visibility,
    relatively warm, no buddy and no bailout. After 15 minutes of swimming me hit the bottom at 15m (49')
    with no gas in loop. I can't made even a breath. OMFG, OOG! blazed in my mind.
    I look at DIL gauge - zero. God, it shows zero. O2 gauge shows 150 bar. Brief thought
    resulted in decision that high PPO don't kill me instantly, but OOG does.
    So, I decide to add O2 to loop, regain a breath and slowly headed to surface.
    After-dive brief examination of my rig show that there is DIL side LP o-ring rupture,
    but pre-dive bubble check show nothing wrong.
    Sure, on OC I must be dead in worst case, and got a lung barothrauma in best case.
    Mind-readyness for emergency situations is an important part of the training.
    And also, after all, I always carry bailout ;)

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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Skipbreather  View Original Post
    Don, many thanks for an outstanding lesson.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the purest reason for forums like this. We learn from honest others and then, in the privacy of our own hearts, resolve to profit from the experience of others to STAY ALIVE.




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    RBW Member Fldvr is an unknown quantity at this point Fldvr's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    I also hear that even though Gizmo had the loop ripped out of his mouth and had a partially flooded rebreather he went back on the loop and completed many hours of deco, his thinking on flood tolerance among other things is greatly changed as a result.
    I personally have found that events should be shared and learned from never really are in the online community. There is always the desire from someone who posts rather than dives to put their phenomenal accomplishments and self gratification over those who truly want to learn and progress. In person or in local groups this rarely happens.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #27
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fldvr  View Original Post
    .....snip....
    I personally have found that events should be shared and learned from never really are in the online community. There is always the desire from someone who posts rather than dives to put their phenomenal accomplishments and self gratification over those who truly want to learn and progress. In person or in local groups this rarely happens.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    You are definitely right about so much being different in person than it is portrayed on the internet forums.

    It is really a shame that so much chest thumping has to happen instead of being humble enough to post about a mistake for others to learn from. I have learned a great deal from the stories of others mistakes. Of course, I have forged ahead and made many more of my own mistakes and feel extremely fortunate to be alive to tell them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
    I could just be blowing smoke out my butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
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    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS SO YESTERDAY AND I AM DONE WITH IT!!!!!

  8. #28
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fldvr  View Original Post
    I also hear that even though Gizmo had the loop ripped out of his mouth and had a partially flooded rebreather he went back on the loop and completed many hours of deco, his thinking on flood tolerance among other things is greatly changed as a result.
    I personally have found that events should be shared and learned from never really are in the online community. There is always the desire from someone who posts rather than dives to put their phenomenal accomplishments and self gratification over those who truly want to learn and progress. In person or in local groups this rarely happens.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I agree fully.

    That is why my original Hypercapnia incident was published on the old "TechDiver" forum back in '96 or so. I remember being inspired by Rich Pyle's horrific tale about how get got bent (the first time - my nickname for Rich is "Gumby" ).

    If nothing else, reading about near-misses like Don's excellent reports give us a bit of pause - make us think about how that could be US in that situation - and hopefully make those intelligent divers consider their own practices and choices as a consequence.

    Anyone can beat their chest and talk about how ballsy they are - and lets face it, most of the divers who are active on here are really quite extraordinary in what they do anyway, so the chest thumping is really unnecessary.

    We're all human, and as such we make mistakes. Sometimes that's all she wrote - other times we survive those mistakes and get to live another day. Sharing those mistakes is the best way to try and help others live through a similar experience, should it happen to them - or at best, to avoid it happening altogether.

    Kevin.

  9. #29
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    I agree with both Kevin and Don. I also remember a time on this forum when admitting a mistake lead to ridicule. I am glad to see that most of the remaining participants here can use these reports to their advantage by learning from them. Thank you everybody for your willingness to share your experience and remaining constructive.

    Checking my log book (yes, I still do that :)), I also realized that I have more CCR than OC dives. My personal conviction (please note: "Personal" here) is that I am safer on the loop than off. That has nothing to do with being or becoming complacent. Over the years there has been too much focus on negative CCR events and not enough positive CCR events.

    Things have changed and are continuing to change. There simply are less issues with the equipment, cells etc than what it used to be. With global CCR experience, procedures and protocols have been established and improved, as has our understanding as to some of the limitations encountered. I am not saying that we have 'arrived', but am saying that perhaps a shift in thinking of CCR being life support rather than a terrorist is more appropriate.

    I hope others will have the courage to post their experiences and most importantly 'lessons learned' on this forum.

    In any event,

    Thank you all

    Claudia Sotis MD

  10. #30
    Fake Diver Jeff Pack will become famous soon enough Jeff Pack will become famous soon enough Jeff Pack will become famous soon enough Jeff Pack will become famous soon enough Jeff Pack's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Has this thread morphed from when my rebreather saved me, to when it tried to kill me?

    God only knows, I have a list of those mistakes. But all have been my fault, not the rebreathers.

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