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Thread: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

  1. #31
    RBW Member molly is an unknown quantity at this point molly's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Me and my buddy were at Garda Lake, on ascent, at 18 m, he lead with the scooter and was stuck in a invisbile fishing net.
    He is an exceptionally prepared and trained Tek diver, and quietly, very quietly, he get freed from the f. net.
    The whole thing lasted about 30' and the tranquility of having an ECCR, with relative autonomy and "ease" managem, in such a case, it has certainly played an important role.
    Of course we talked about it with our fellow divers! Why not!?

    My 2 € cents....;)

  2. #32
    John H Hanzl johnnyh is an unknown quantity at this point johnnyh's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    It's interesting that this thread has started because it's something I've thought a lot about over the past several months. I am fairly confident that by my being on a rebreather rather than OC I am here today to write this - or in the very least, things could have been much worse than they were...

    My experience relates not to the extra time margins afforded by diving a rebreather, although that is a huge benefit in my book - and is the reason I moved from tech OC diving to rebreathers (the specific dive that fully underscored this point is probably a more interesting story, but not for this thread...).

    No, my rEvo saved me because of the fact that it's a constant blending machine, always delivering the optimal blend throughout the dive.

    I won't go into the full details of the dive, nor the extensive post analysis and recovery - if you're interested in that you can watch the presentation I gave on the experience here: http://johnhanzl.com/2015/10/29/my-p...hint-it-sucks/

    The point being, On July 4th I was on a dive in Ginnie, second of the day and eighth of the trip, and forty minutes after the dive I became symptomatic for DCS. Things progressively got worse (severe vomiting, couldn't sit up or walk, pain in shoulders and under the armpits, welting across stomach and up left side, severe nystagmus, completely blurry vision, seeing things - that was a bit crazy - difficulty thinking, etc...), until I was transported to South Georgia Medical Center where I spent five days alternating between a chamber and my room in the ICU. After 21 hours in the chamber my wife flew down from Boston to drive me home. Even weeks after returning home I had severe difficulty walking and could barely see - it was about two months before I could walk without staggering and the world wasn't all blurry.

    Well, after seven months and a PFO closure surgery, I am now (finally) cleared to dive, and with no restrictions (other than the obvious need to be more conservative in my planning and in selecting my GF numbers).

    Apparently I had a "wide open" PFO (my cardiac surgeon's words) and given the potential level of shunting that was happening during the dive(s), had I been on OC, breathing off mixtures that weren't optimized for every foot of my dive, then I would have likely seriously increased my inert gas loading and lowered the PP of O2 throughout the dive. As it was, my DCS hit was very severe and I can't imagine where things would have gone had I not been on my rEvo...

    So - thanks Paul Raymeakers for developing the machine that may have saved my life!
    Last edited by johnnyh; 24th March 2016 at 18:07.
    John Hanzl

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  3. #33
    So many CCR So little etc Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Saved me? Dificult to know but I was sure glad I was on CCR

    2005 first year on CCR and frirst year diveing with "Delta" a group of divers dedicated to exploring new wrecks often a loooooonnnggg way out at sea.

    They have rules and one rule is EVERYONE MUST return to the up line and deco station.

    If you fail to make it and bag off the boat skipper is under orders to stay with the deco station

    That means you drift off with the tide alone untill every one is on the station and every one is convinced your either dead or have missed the shot. Then they will cut the station lose and drift.

    You could be miles away at that time and we dont do flat glassy sea in the UK much so your silly little SMB isnt going to be visable most of the time if your a mile away

    SO now I have set the scene:

    I am at 70 something M and viz is poor, its pitch black due to an Algi bloom at 30m and I am reeling back on my guide line end of the dive on a smashed up wreck thats massive and dificult to navigate

    Suddenly the line goes slack and I find the broken end of my guide line

    I know I am at least 50-80 from the shot. I cant see s#it and my SAC instantly goes into overdrive as I realise I could be lost at sea if I have to go up alone.

    I was lost at sea once before and its very very unplesent

    Then I laugh into my loop

    Its April/May I have been on CCR for apx six months and I still have an Open cuircuit mentality.

    On OC I wouldnt have time to do a lost line serch. Maybee 5mins max + the time I needed to get back to the shot. But I was on CCR and I had all the gas in the world

    I relaxed, I did a logical line serch and whilst I didnt find the line, I did spot another divers torch and I swam over to him and folowed him back to the shot

    I was very very pleased to be on CCR that day


    Same year

    Zenobia only 45m deep but its a car ferry on its side. Long story short we got complacent in the 30m viz and ended up on the wrong car deck with no guide line

    Planned dive time was 90mins

    We ended up doing 140mins because thats how long it took us to find a way out of the upper car deck

    We wouldn't have made it on twin 12s

    Again it was amazing how calm we were sure in the knowladge we had hours and hours to find a way out.


    When any one askes me about CCR safety I point out that on OC gas time presure be it real or perceived, creates massive stress and makes for bad decisions

    Any one whos ever done a properly deep dive like 70m and had an issue like entanglement, knows how hard it is to get your breathing under control and ignore the SPG dropping like a stone

    The next thing I will say about CCR is how much helium I now use.

    20-25m END is normal MAX now. Christ, I do 30m dives on 18/45 as thats what I have banked in my Js at home

    On OC id dive 40m or even 50m ENDs to keep the gas cost down

    Dangerous or what

    ATB

  4. #34
    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!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Chase  View Original Post
    Saved me? Dificult to know but I was sure glad I was on CCR

    2005 first year on CCR and frirst year diveing with "Delta" a group of divers dedicated to exploring new wrecks often a loooooonnnggg way out at sea.

    They have rules and one rule is EVERYONE MUST return to the up line and deco station.

    If you fail to make it and bag off the boat skipper is under orders to stay with the deco station

    That means you drift off with the tide alone untill every one is on the station and every one is convinced your either dead or have missed the shot. Then they will cut the station lose and drift.

    You could be miles away at that time and we dont do flat glassy sea in the UK much so your silly little SMB isnt going to be visable most of the time if your a mile away

    SO now I have set the scene:

    I am at 70 something M and viz is poor, its pitch black due to an Algi bloom at 30m and I am reeling back on my guide line end of the dive on a smashed up wreck thats massive and dificult to navigate

    Suddenly the line goes slack and I find the broken end of my guide line

    I know I am at least 50-80 from the shot. I cant see s#it and my SAC instantly goes into overdrive as I realise I could be lost at sea if I have to go up alone.

    I was lost at sea once before and its very very unplesent

    Then I laugh into my loop

    Its April/May I have been on CCR for apx six months and I still have an Open cuircuit mentality.

    On OC I wouldnt have time to do a lost line serch. Maybee 5mins max + the time I needed to get back to the shot. But I was on CCR and I had all the gas in the world

    I relaxed, I did a logical line serch and whilst I didnt find the line, I did spot another divers torch and I swam over to him and folowed him back to the shot

    I was very very pleased to be on CCR that day


    Same year

    Zenobia only 45m deep but its a car ferry on its side. Long story short we got complacent in the 30m viz and ended up on the wrong car deck with no guide line

    Planned dive time was 90mins

    We ended up doing 140mins because thats how long it took us to find a way out of the upper car deck

    We wouldn't have made it on twin 12s

    Again it was amazing how calm we were sure in the knowladge we had hours and hours to find a way out.


    When any one askes me about CCR safety I point out that on OC gas time presure be it real or perceived, creates massive stress and makes for bad decisions

    Any one whos ever done a properly deep dive like 70m and had an issue like entanglement, knows how hard it is to get your breathing under control and ignore the SPG dropping like a stone

    The next thing I will say about CCR is how much helium I now use.

    20-25m END is normal MAX now. Christ, I do 30m dives on 18/45 as thats what I have banked in my Js at home

    On OC id dive 40m or even 50m ENDs to keep the gas cost down

    Dangerous or what

    ATB
    Mark, great minds must think alike.

    In VERY different words I've often explained to Great Lakes wreck divers, who were contemplating going CCR and asking me if they should, this: When you dive wrecks it is not IF, but WHEN you will become snagged or lost. CCR gives you the LUXURY of time to think your way out of tough situations rather than having to grab the first and (?) only obvious way out on OC.

    As our great friends down under might say, good on ya, mate!

    Ken

  5. #35

    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Skipbreather  View Original Post
    Mark, great minds must think alike.

    In VERY different words I've often explained to Great Lakes wreck divers, who were contemplating going CCR and asking me if they should, this: When you dive wrecks it is not IF, but WHEN you will become snagged or lost. CCR gives you the LUXURY of time to think your way out of tough situations rather than having to grab the first and (?) only obvious way out on OC.

    As our great friends down under might say, good on ya, mate!

    Ken
    That Great Lakes wreck diving is scarry stuff.

  6. #36
    Mature mouth breather silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Hello all, thank you Claudia for bringing up this subject, and to those of you who are posting your own positive outcome experiences. I thoroughly agree with Claudia's premise, I have been saying as much for years. Below are two such positive outcome incidents which happened to me, and which I have recounted here on RBW before and elsewhere:

    I have been in several serious strong/down current situations on CCR which I do not think would have been survivable on OC. The worst two were on the north coast of Papua New Guinea and in Alor, Indonesia.

    The key points, IMHO, are first to not panic, which is made easier because on CCR you almost certainly have enough gas to stay under as long and go as deep as necessary to get out of the situation. The next thing is however much gas you have, you must still be careful with your gas management. In Alor, we were trapped in a very bad up/down current, which took my dive buddy down to 60M and up to the surface multiple times. She almost ran out of gas because she was trying to use her wing to stabilize the situation, constantly filling and venting it, in addition to all the gas she had to fill and vent through the counter lungs. For this reason, and a few others, I do not believe that 2 ltr onboard cylinders are sufficient for any open ocean CCR diving. It doesn't matter whether you have BO or not, you will not have time to do anything, much less fumble with gas blocks, shutoffs or an OC BO regulator in a situation like this. And yes, she was carrying a BO cylinder, but had no chance to use it until she reached calm water 15 minutes later. Say what you will, those who cry "When in doubt, bail out", but back gas is your most important and first resource in a crisis such as this.

    Luckily, as planned, I deployed my SMB as soon as we hit the water, so the boat could keep track of us while we swam in a channel looking for a pod of dolphins. But the Capt. did not look at the chart and was unaware there was a 60+m drop off at the end of the channel and we got caught in what was effectively an underwater waterfall.

    I experienced the same up/down as my buddy, but on a much smaller scale, because I was able to hold on to the SMB reel and only went up and down over 0-15m, meaning my SMB went from 0-15m..! That's how much force kept pulling us down. With my spare hand, I was able to depress my OPV and manually to vent gas from the CLs and my nose, and depress the ADV to add fresh gas as depth increased. It is for this reason that I wouldn't ever worry about an O2 spike in such a situation because if you are being forced down, you will necessarily need to add dil to fill the CLs to get a breath, probably manually, as most ADVs are not responsive enough in a seriously fast down current. I didn't even think about my wing as I knew it wouldn't help in such a current. Your CL volume is what you should be focused on because you must breathe first and foremost, see previous comments about not panicking just because you are being pushed down, or worrying about the depth, because you have a CCR.

    Also, given this very real possibility of unforeseen strong currents when diving in places like PNG or Indonesia, and because of basic simplicity concerns, I am not in favor of inline ADV shutoffs, and part of the reason I don't like the BOVs I've tried, because they all leaked and required an inline shutoff. Maybe there are newer ones that are better and don't need shutoffs. And when diving with BO that is the same as my onboard, I have my BO gas supply plumbed into the dil reg and leave the valve open, just in case, so all my gas is available to the loop at all times without any fiddling.

    The other salient point about a situation like this is how crucial it is to have physical access to your CLs for the purposes of being able to vent and add gas manually in such a fast moving situation. Things for me would have been way worse if I had back mounted CLs and an OPV I couldn't easily reach. But with my thoughtfully designed Prism OTS CLs, I had only to move my hand a few inches around my chest to dump or add large volumes of gas from the CLs in seconds. That, plus nose venting, gave me more control over my depth changes and lessened my vulnerability to an over pressure lung injury, than if I had BM CLs, no easy access to the OPV and could only vent through my nose.

    The incident in PNG was just a straight down current and took myself and my CCR diving Capt. down to 60+m in a bad tidal down current. There was no sign of the current on the surface, before we jumped, either. It took us 30+ minutes, all our strength climbing up hand over hand and multiple rests to get out of it. We were 2 healthy men, totally spent, sitting on the deck after, thankful we weren't diving OC. Otherwise we would've gone through an AL80 in a few minutes and both been dead.

    IMHO, my CCR kept me calm and ultimately alive in those situations because of the amount of gas available and the time and ability to think things through... -Andy
    Last edited by silent running; 26th March 2016 at 05:57.

  7. #37
    New Rebreather Diver RoyJN is an unknown quantity at this point RoyJN's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    When I was driving down to Long Beach from San Jose to board the boat Sand Dollar, I had about well over 50 cars that were driving aggressively where it nearly killed me. The way how they drive of course was typical of driving 20 miles over the speed limit, weaving in and out of lanes like they are in a hurry. This was on highway 101 of course. All the while, I had the rebreather in the back of the trunk of the car and it didn't kill me. The point is, the way how people are driving these days, I'm more likely to be killed on the road then diving. Just my two cent here and wanted to sure how I feel about the rebreather as a "death machine."
    Last edited by RoyJN; 26th March 2016 at 06:34.

  8. #38
    RBW Member andrespp is on a distinguished road andrespp is on a distinguished road andrespp's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Not a really big history , but...I was doing some solo diving at 50+meters. This was a shore dive so had not any surface support.


    The bottom was sand with some disperse big rocks, some of them raising 10 meters from the bottom each one having a lot of sealife around and some archeological remains around.


    I was having a very pleasant time and them suddenly noticed that the current was starting to get stronger by the second, despite in accordance with tidal calcs the current was not expected to appear until at least two and half hours later.


    I had no scooter by then, and the current was so strong (probably around 5 knots or so, saw some stones sized as a soccer ball rolling like hell in the bottom, and then it was dragging me into open sea) that had no chance of making the way back to the shore.


    Initially, I felt the panic invading me, but then realized that was diving in ccr with several hours left... just hided behind one of those big rocks, on the opposite side of where the current was coming, and then went into the bottom. The big rock completely protected me from the current, as soon as did not move more than a couple meters away from it.


    Spent about one+ hour for the current to get weaker (by the way, I saw a lot of sealife moving with the current, as barracuda, turtles, stingray, eagle rays, sunfishes, etc etc) , and then did my way back, making my long deco on the shallower wall reef.


    So ccr saved if not my life, at least spared me of a search and rescue operation on open sea, at one of the most trafficked sea ways of the world (strait of Gibraltar). The only drawback was that I was using a 7+5 mm wetsuit on a 16 Celsius degrees water so I had some hypothermia.

  9. #39
    RBW Member ckrueger is an unknown quantity at this point ckrueger's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Great information. I appreciate everyone sharing there experiences. Now I am getting more concerned about going back to my OC. LOL

    Chuck

  10. #40
    RBW Member Nicool is on a distinguished road Nicool is on a distinguished road Nicool's Avatar
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    Re: When My Rebreather Saved Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by andrespp  View Original Post
    Not a really big history , but...I was doing some solo diving at 50+meters. This was a shore dive so had not any surface support.


    The bottom was sand with some disperse big rocks, some of them raising 10 meters from the bottom each one having a lot of sealife around and some archeological remains around.


    I was having a very pleasant time and them suddenly noticed that the current was starting to get stronger by the second, despite in accordance with tidal calcs the current was not expected to appear until at least two and half hours later.


    I had no scooter by then, and the current was so strong (probably around 5 knots or so, saw some stones sized as a soccer ball rolling like hell in the bottom, and then it was dragging me into open sea) that had no chance of making the way back to the shore.


    Initially, I felt the panic invading me, but then realized that was diving in ccr with several hours left... just hided behind one of those big rocks, on the opposite side of where the current was coming, and then went into the bottom. The big rock completely protected me from the current, as soon as did not move more than a couple meters away from it.


    Spent about one+ hour for the current to get weaker (by the way, I saw a lot of sealife moving with the current, as barracuda, turtles, stingray, eagle rays, sunfishes, etc etc) , and then did my way back, making my long deco on the shallower wall reef.


    So ccr saved if not my life, at least spared me of a search and rescue operation on open sea, at one of the most trafficked sea ways of the world (strait of Gibraltar). The only drawback was that I was using a 7+5 mm wetsuit on a 16 Celsius degrees water so I had some hypothermia.
    Very interesting story and interesting dive site i think!
    Which site is that if i may ask?
    Were you certain that the current would weaken after some time, or just hopeful?


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