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2018 JS Diving Incident Reports

The table below contains a sanitised version (no names or units!) of the service diving incidents that have been received by JSSADC in 2018.

SerialIncidentReports
18/39On an Ocean Diver course, a diver completed OO1 without any issues. Later that day during the descent on OO2 they were unable to clear their ears and the dive was aborted. Following a visit to the medical centre the diver was cleared to dive the following day.
18/38During the sheltered water lessons of an Ocean Diver course, a diver complained of pain in their ears. They were seen by a medical officer who recommended no diving for a week.
18/37A coxswain was giving a pre-drop off brief to a group of divers. One of the divers mistook this for the actual drop off brief and entered the water. Fortunately they were able to swim to the shot where their buddy joined them and the dive continued without further incident.
18/36A diver was distracted whilst building their CCR but completed all pre-dive checks including the pos & negs. On exiting the boat they took a breath and ingested a small amount of water. The buddy noticed that the inhalation t-piece was detached from the mouthpiece.

The diver was recovered to the boat without further incident.

18/35On the first dive of a week long sports diver course, a diver reported difficulty clearing both ears on the ascent.

After a week of further trouble free diving, the diver again had problems clearing their ears on a dive to 21m. The dive was completed at a depth of 17m but just before the ascent the diver developed a headache. On surfacing the diver was nauseous, the headache had worsened and they had bloody snot in their mask.

The DDMO was contacted and recommended that the diver was seen by a diving doctor. They diagnosed ear barotrauma and recommended no diving for 7 days.
18/34Following a dive to 29m, a diver surfaced having missed 3 minutes of live decompression. The diver was placed on oxygen and, following consultation with the DDMO, evacuated to the recompression chamber where they were found to be asymptomatic.
18/33During the descent to 30m, a diver felt water ingress in their suit and requested their buddy checked the zip. No abnormalities were noticed and a reduced duration dive was completed. Subsequently it was found that the suit material had failed and the suit was returned to the manufacturer for rectification.
18/32Whilst conducting a sports diver skills lesson, the diver struggled to clear their mask due to problems with sinuses. On aborting the dive and returning to the surface, blood was observed around the diver's face.

The diver went to the med centre which was closed so attended a local hospital instead and also spoke to the DDMO. They were advised not to dive with a cold.
18/31During OO1 on an Ocean Diver course, a diver vomited into their DV shortly after completing the DV ditch and retrieve process. The dive was aborted and the diver vomited a further 2 times whilst they were recovering to shore.

The DDMO was contacted and advised a precautionary visit to the local medical centre. The medical centre was only able to accept the diver 2 hrs later so the decision was made to monitor the diver in situ.

Approximately 45 mins later, the diver informed the SADS that they were feeling chest pains. The DDMO was contacted again and given this update. On the basis of this new information, the DDMO phoned the emergency services and requested an air ambulance to take the diver to the nearest A&E hospital.

Several hours later, the diver was discharged with no injuries. During the event the diver admitted that they struggled to retain items, such as gum shields, in their mouth. It is assessed that this may have led to water inhalation that led to the vomiting.
18/30During a dive to 6m, a diver experienced ear pain and the dive was aborted. Following a visit to the medical centre, the diver was cleared to dive the next day.
18/29During the concurrent deployment of four divers from a RIB (two on each side), one delayed their entry and landed upon another causing them to be stunned. Both were recovered to the boat.

After a visit to the MO, the stunned diver elected not to conduct further diving that day.
18/28The morning after conducting two dives, a diver woke with a sore ear. Following a visit to the medical centre they were advised to take 48 hrs off to allow the ear drum to recover.
18/27In UK conditions, two newly qualified Ocean Divers were conducting a consolidation diver with an instructor at a depth of 20m. One lost control of their buoyancy resulting in lost of visibility and separation.

All divers aborted the dive and returned to the surface within 60 secs of each other.
18/26The day after two dives to 6m, a trainee diver awoke to find fluid on their pillow. After visiting the MO they were informed that they had perforated their ear drum. Following three weeks of non-diving they were informed that the ear had fully healed and this was confirmed by a successful hearing test.
18/25Four days into a Sports diver course having been to a maximum depth of 20m, a diver felt numbness and pain in their shoulder. After sleeping it felt much better but they reported the issue to the supervisor.

The DDMO was contacted and the diver sent to a local chamber where he was assessed. No injuries were found and 24 hours of none diving were mandated.
18/24A diver was unable to clear their ears on descent so aborted the dive at 4m. Subsequently he was signed off diving for 2 days by the medical centre.
18/23During the first dive of an Ocean Diver cse, a diver experienced a free flow on their main regulator. On subsequent investigation it was found to be an damaged internal hose o-ring.
18/22A diver returned to the surface with a blocked ear that hadn't cleared 4 hours later. Later the diver noticed a discharge and contacted the DDMO. Following a visit to a doctor, ear barotrauma was diagnosed .
18/21During the ascent phase from a dive to a maximum depth of 18m, a diver reported feeling excessively tired. Food & drink did not improve the situation so they were taken the medical centre where low blood oxygen was diagnosed (95%). The next day levels had returned to normal but no diving was recommended for 48 hrs.
18/20In the morning a diver completed an Advanced Decompression Dive using 54% Nitrox decompression mix to 40m without incident.

Later that day the diver conducted a second decompression dive to 24 metres with a maximum planned surface to surface time of 60 mins. Once at the first decompression stop the diver realised that the computer was still planning using a 54% deco mix. This gas was not being carried and should have been turned off on the computer.

In order to fully clear decompression, the divers carried out additional stops resulting in them surfacing after 72 mins. Throughout this period they were under an SMB and both visible from the surface.
Only gases being carried should be used for planning decompression. When changing equipment configurations between dives ensure that rigorous SEEDS briefs and BAR checks are completed.
18/19During boathandling continuation training a distress call was heard on Channel 16 from a nearby small boat which was discovered to have run out of fuel. The boat was towed to a nearby harbour without further incident.
18/18During the first dive of an Ocean Diver course at 6m, a student indicated that their BCD inflator button, securing ring and button cap had come off their inflator. The instructor recovered the diver to the surface and the BCD was repaired by the SADS who is suitably qualified.

The equipment was 13 months old and had been checked prior to issue. A full BARE check had also been completed.
18/17During a dive to 23m, a diver reported discomfort in their ear and returned to the surface. Subsequent examination at the medical centre diagnosed bruised ear drums which the individual had experienced before.
18/16Following a dive to 25m, a CCR diver was unable to hold a safety stop at 6m and drifted slowly to the surface. No ascent alarms were triggered on either primary or secondary computer.
18/15During the descent on the second dive of the day, a diver reported a headache. The dive was aborted and divers recovered to the boat.

The DDMO advised that the diver was monitored but if symptoms lessened then diving could resume the following day.

18/14On the final dive of a CCR cse, it was planned to conduct a 3 minute safety stop at 6m. One student was unable to complete this and floated gently to the surface.
18/13Whilst carrying out drills on a CCR cse, a student found it difficult to breathe. A check of the diluent cylinder contents gauge revealed it to be empty.

The student bailed out to Open Circuit and aborted the dive.

The diluent contents had been checked regularly throughout the dive and there was no obvious signs of gas loss.
18/12During the swimming assessment on an Ocean Diver course, a student reported pain in their shoulder which they felt was related to a recent mountain biking injury. The DDMO was consulted and stated that the student could continue pool training but needed a medical assessment before continuing to open water.

Overnight the student was in great pain and removed themselves from the course. Subsequent medical examination revealed that a deltoid muscle had been damaged and 2 weeks rest was required.
18/11On the ascent from a trimix decompression dive to 50m, a diver received conflicting information from the two dive computers he was wearing. Although both were from the same manufacturer (Suunto), the EON Core required decompression to be conducted relatively deep (from 18m) whilst the D9tx wanted the decompression to be conducted shallower than 6m. This discrepancy resulted in the ascent time on the D9tx not reducing as quickly as the EON Core and the diver exceeding the briefed surface to surface time.

Subsequently it was identified that although both the D9tx and EON Core are modern technical computers they have different decompression algorithms which produce different ascent profiles.

When using multiple dive computers they need to have compatible algorithims
18/10During a short transit from launch site to mooring a crew member attempted to secure some loose equipment. Whilst doing so they fell overboard and the automatic life jacket inflated. The coxn recovered the crew member without incident or injury.
18/9Whilst descending, a diver felt pain in their ear at 10m. A slight ascent removed the pain and the dive resumed to a maximum depth of 16m.

After the dive the diver reported ear pain and was sent to the medical centre where they were diagnosed with a perforated ear drum. They were prevented from diving for the rest of the expedition.
18/8Whilst an expedition was conducting shake out dives in Gibraltar near JPDU, an RN patrol boat reported passing close to bubbles in the water.

A subsequent investigation by the Port Services Manager (PSM) has resulted in changes to the SOPs for AT diving expeditions. All future AT expeditions should comply with these.
18/7Ten minutes into a dive to a maximum depth of 25m, a junior diver lost control of their buoyancy and ascended from 21 to 8m over a period of 30-40 secs. After regaining control they descended back to 14m where they met their buddy and continued the dive for a further 25 mins without incident.

Approximately 90 mins after surfacing the diver complained of discomfort in their elbow. Following an examination of the affected area, the DDMO was contacted who directed that a number of checks were to be completed. Following these and a later series of checks it was decided that the issue was muscular rather than DCI. The diver was advised to take things easy and continue to drink plenty of fluids.
18/6A diver conducted two multi-level dives; one to a maximum depth of 30m for 34mins breathing Nitrox 32 and the second to 27m for 29 mins on air. Due to a navigation error the last dive required a 250m surface swim back to the shore but otherwise there were no issues with either dive and all divers reported feeling well.

Approximately 7 hrs after surfacing the diver reported that he'd had pins and needles in the palm of his hands from approximately 75 mins after surfacing. A neuro check was conducted and contact made with the DDMO who stated that a medical examination needed to occur.

This took place at a local hospital and a 5hr treatment of oxygen was given, along with fluids and an ECG. Four hours later the casualty was placed in the RCC, along with a person undergoing hyperbaric therapy, and a full treatment conducted. The diver was subsequently discharged pending further investigation

During the hospital treatment the diver revealed that they were allergic to Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) which came as a surprise to members of the expedition who were unaware of this.
18/5At the conclusion of a 20 minute dive to 25m, most of which was spent shallower than 12m, a diver made a speedier ascent than normal from 5m. The diver had been breathing Nitrox 32 throughout the dive with air set on both dive computers as a safety factor. Neither computer showed any abnormalities for the dive.

Shortly after surfacing, the diver complained of a headache and then began to vomit. The DDMO was contacted whilst the diver was placed on oxygen and evacuated to a RCC.

After US Navy Table 5 treatment, the diver reported feeling fine and was discharged.
18/4Two divers were conducting a depth progression dive for a Dive Leader down to 40m. At 37m, one of the divers exhibited signs of discontent and erratic breathing with an indication that they wished to ascend.

The buddy assessed the diver as panicking and provided assistance during the ascent including ditching air from the BC to keep the ascent within parameters. At 10m the diver had regained control such that they were happy to conduct a 3 minute safety stop at 6m. Both divers were recovered from the water onto a boat.

The diver was visibly shaken and placed onto oxygen as a precaution whilst the DDMO was contacted. Concurrently the diver was recovered to the nearby military chamber where full neuros were completed. It was assessed that the diver had an anxiety attack that may have been brought on by narcosis.

The diver was told not to dive for 24 hrs.
Close monitoring of divers conducting depth progression is important. If a diver is in distress then a buddy needs to provide positive assistance.
18/3During a planned decompression dive to 32m, a diver was wearing two computers from the same manufacturer that used the same algorithm. Towards the end of the dive they notice that the secondary device required significantly more in water stops than the primary.

In order to clear the stops on both computers, additional gas was required and a signal was sent to the surface requesting more. This was deployed and the divers completed the higher level of stops returning to the surface without further incident.

A subsequent download of the secondary computer revealed significant anomalies on other dives that indicated that it was unserviceable.
If using multiple computers then divers should always monitor them all.

The ability to deploy additional gas to divers conducting decompression stops is very useful under certain circumstances.
18/2A group of service divers observed a civilian group in distress following a dive to 20m. They assisted with the recovery to shore and provided oxygen until the emergency services arrived. Subsequently it was learnt that the casualty made a full recovery and was grateful for the assistance that they had received.
18/1Whilst diving to 7m, a diver was unable to clear there ears. After visiting a walk in clinic, and phone consultation, with the DDMO they were prescribed medication and did not dive for 5 days.

Further details on incident reporting and the latest form can be accessed at this page.




Revised Incident Report Form

Following the change of email addresses for JSSADC, the JS BSAC Incident Report Form has now been updated.  The latest versions can be downloaded at the links below

It is requested that old versions of the incident report form are deleted or destroyed.




Kit Check!

Two recent incident reports from an AT diving centre have highlighted issues with submersible pressure gauges (SPG).  Fortunately both failures occurred on the surface rather than in water and the only injuries were minor.

Although not the case in this situation, these incidents serve as a useful reminder that this is a time of year when kit failure is relatively common as divers return to the water after a winter break.  It is always worth giving your own personal and club equipment an extra rigorous inspection to ensure that it is ready for the diving season.




2017 JS Diving Incident Reports

The table below contains a sanitised version (no names or units!) of the service diving incidents that have been received by JSSADC in 2017.

SerialIncidentRemarks
17/58Two divers were ascending under a DSMB alongside a shot line. Whilst carrying out a safety stop at 6m, a large group of divers came past and used both the shot and DSMB line to carry on up to the surface.

This caused one diver to loose control of his buoyancy and ascend to the surface after only 1 of the 3 minutes. The second diver completed the full safety stop and they were reunited on the surface.

The first diver felt that they may have ingested some water and had a slight cough. They did not dive for 24 hrs and were closely monitored as a precaution but no further symptoms were observed.
Beware of other divers who may not follow accepted etiquette.

It is also recommended that safety stops should be cut short in the event of a separation.
17/57During a no deco dive to 30m, a diver noticed that their computer display was corrupt. The dive was aborted and the computer fail plan of 3 mins at 6m completed with depth and time information provided by a secondary means (d-timer).

Subsequently the computer was found to have flooded.

The diver completed 24 hrs on the surface before resuming diving using a computer that had also spent 24hrs clear.
Electronics do fail. be prepared!
17/56On the last dive of an Ocean Diver course the rescue diver was carrying the SMB and got it entangled round the shot. Whilst they were struggling to untangle the SMB the instructor continued the descent only noticing that the rescue diver was missing when they reached 15m.

All divers returned to the surface and were reunited.
17/55Whilst conducting a 35m depth progression for a Sports Diver, their buddy noted that the diver had become unconscious at approximately 30m. The buddy carried out a controlled buoyant lift and recovered the Sports Diver to the surface making everyone positively buoyant.

The casualty recovered consciousness at the surface and both divers made a surface swim back towards the shore. Concurrently the SADS had dispatched two surface swimmers who assisted. The casualty had no recollection of the incident

Assistance was sought from the DDMO who directed that neither diver should complete any further dives for the remaining day of the expedition.

All equipment was quarantined for inspection on return
BZ to the buddy!
17/54At 6m on the descent for a planned depth of 17m a diver was unable to clear their ears. The dive was aborted and the pair returned to the surface.

The diver attended the medical centre where a minor barotrauma was diagnosed. After 72 hours of no diving and following another medical inspection the diver was cleared to dive again
17/53Following a dive to 11m which included a training CBL, a diver reported pain in their ear. After 24hrs it was still painful so they reported to the medical centre where the doctor diagnosed barotrauma.
17/52A diver experienced problems clearing their ears during a 20 min shakeout dive to 6m but managed to complete the dive. Later that day a second dive was also conducted without problems.

At the end of the day the diver reported that they were still experiencing ear problems and were sent to for medical examination. This identified a perforated ear drum.
17/51A diver on a CCR course was unable to control their buoyancy during a bailout ascent and drifted to the surface. The diver's buddies confirmed that the ascent wasn't rapid and the diver's computer showed a maximum ascent rate of 8m/min.
17/50Whilst conducting bailout ascent training on a CCR refresher course, a diver drifted to the surface. The diver's buddies confirmed that the ascent wasn't rapid nor was there any indication of a rapid ascent on the diver's computer.
17/49During a PRM scenario on a hard boat, a diver trapped their finger in between the lift platform and its frame. As the boat rolled the platform moved resulting in it being crushed.

The diver was given first aid and evacuated back to medical attention where it was confirmed that there was no serious injury.
'Normal' injuries can also occur whilst diving!
17/48A diver lost control of their buoyancy at 8m following a dive to 27m and made a rapid ascent to the surface. The diver was placed on oxygen and neurological checks carried out whilst the DDMO was contacted.

The DDMO recommended a further 10 mins of oxygen therapy during which no symptoms of DCI manifested themselves. The diver was taken to the medical centre and following a check up was given the all clear by the DDMO to dive the following day.
17/47Four minutes into a dive, a diver experienced problems equalising their ears at a depth of 7m. The dive was aborted and, after attending the medical centre, the diver was instructed not to dive for 2 weeks.
17/46On the return home from a six day expedition, a diver started to experience pain in their ear and lost hearing. They attended A&E where an ear infection was diagnosed.
17/45As they completed a dive to 19m, a diver's ascent rate started to increase without them noticing until they breached the surface at a rapid rate. Their diving computer indicated a rapid ascent and that an extended surface interval should be conducted before diving again.After a rapid ascent, best practise is to seek advice from the DDMO.
17/44Following a dive to 10m a diver surfaced feeling dizzy and faint. They believed themselves to be dehydrated with a touch of sunstroke.

The SADS contacted the DDMO who advised rest for the remainder of the overseas expedition.
17/43One the descent to 27m a diver was stung on the lips by a jellyfish. They felt able to continue the diver which lasted 36mins.

On surfacing the diver felt intermittent tingling across their body. The DDMO advised to wait for 2 hrs to see if symptoms improved which they did not. This was followed by a 30 min treatment with 100% oxygen which also did not improve the symptoms.

The DDMO then recommended hyperbaric recompression. During this process the symptoms gradually subsided.

The doctor diagnosed an allergic reaction to the jellyfish sting.
17/42During Ocean Diver training a diver had experienced difficulties clearing their ears and on one occasion had been forced to abort a dive. During a continuation dive planned for 20m the diver was unable to clear their ears and experienced pain below 6m. The dive was aborted.

After surfacing the diver indicated that they had been feeling unbalanced underwater and had suffered pain in their ear and behind the eye. The DDMO was contacted and advised use of decongestant which cleared the problem.
17/41Three divers were carrying out a planned decompression dive to 35m on an underwater wall. As they were ascending up the wall the diver with the SMB began to be pulled away from the wall by the current. One of the divers went with him whilst the other became separated.

All divers carried out a 30 second search for the missing diver(s) and then carried out mandatory decompression before surfacing.
Trio diving increases the risk of separation particularly under challenging conditions.
17/40On the last dive of an ocean diver course to 20m, the underwater visibility proved poor so the instructor decided to abort the dive. The rescue diver became separated and during the ascent one of the trainees lost control of their buoyancy at about 10m.

Concurrently the rescue diver attempted to deploy their DSMB and also lost control of their buoyancy at about 12m.

Both divers were asymptomatic but due to the rapid ascents the SADS commenced oxygen treatment. The DDMO was contacted and advised that they be assessed by a doctor. There was no doctor available at the nearest military unit so they were taken by ambulance to the local hospital.

Following a further 90 mins of oxygen treatment and an assessment by a doctor they were discharged. .
All divers in this incident were relatively inexperienced which, combined with poor conditions, may have been a significant factor in this incident.

Throught this incident the "casualties" were kept on oxygen which demonstrates the importance of having sufficient for this sort of situation.
17/39Whilst conducting a BAR check, a diver found that their DV was purging each time a breath was taken.

The DV was isolated but subsequent investigation could not find a fault.
17/38During the ascent from a diver recall training scenario a diver who had recently been trained to use a dry suit became inverted at approx 4m. Whilst carrying out the recovery drill the diver became entangled in their DSMB line and ascended to the surface inverted. Once on the surface they righted and untangled themselves.

A
17/37During a training scenario two divers called for gas on a decompression stop at 6m. The drop tank was lowered to them on a 9m line. Whilst lifting the drop tank from 9 to 6m one of the divers was briefly entangled and then lost control of their buoyancy causing them to ascend to the surface. Fortunately all mandatory decompression had been completed

The diver was recovered to the boat and placed on oxygen whilst the DDMO was contacted. He advised a normal recovery to base with regular neurological checks and then a checkup from a doctor.

Concurrently the second diver made a normal ascent.

No DCI symptoms were observed and the diver was given the all clear to dive the next day.
17/36At the end of a dive to 31m, a diver inflated a DSMB using his alternate source regulator which went into free flow which could not be stopped. The diver bailed out to their pony and started to ascend at which point they lost sight of their buddy. The safety stop was omitted and the diver returned safely to the surface.

Meanwhile the buddy carried out separation drills and ascended safely under their own DSMB carrying out a safety stop They arrived on the surface approximately 10 mins after the first diver and were then reunited back on the boat.

The SADS checked the first diver's computer which was not indicating a rapid ascent even though the total ascent time from 31m was approx 1 min 40 secs which exceeds the recommended ascent rate. The diver was removed from the programme, told to drink plenty of fluids and closely monitored for the rest of the day.
In cases of separation, consider missing out on safety stops to minimise the amount of time diving solo.

If a rapid or buoyant ascent is suspected then consider making a precautionary call to the DDMO.
17/35A pair of divers descended onto a 30m wreck and encountered a much stronger tide than expected. They deployed a DSMB to indicate that they intended to drift away from the site. Unfortunately this got wrapped round the shot line so was abandoned. A second DSMB was deployed.

Shortly afterwards a diver arrived at the surface having made a rapid ascent after ditching their weightbelt. They gave a distress signal and were recovered to the boat.
They were placed on oxygen and attempts were made to contact the DDMO which were unsuccessful due to no mobile phone signal. A pan pan call was successfully made to the coastguard.

Concurrently the second diver surfaced and was recovered to the boat.

The diver who had made the rapid ascent was evacuated to a RCC where they received a precautionary treatment.
As a SADS it is always useful to have multiple means of contacting the emergency services.

Ditching a weightbelt is an extremely effective way for a diver to become positively buoyant. The inevitable subsequent rapid ascent carries considerable risk so this should only be carried out in extremis.
17/34On the last dive of an ocean diver course a rescue diver mistook one group of divers for the group he should have been with. The group the diver joined was a three (only one student) and all were dressed in similar equipment to the group with which they started.

The initial group realised that their rescue diver was missing and aborted the dive. The second group had started to prepare for ascent so the rescue diver ascended with them and all divers were recovered safely to the boats.
It is easy to see how this situation could occur in these circumstances. Rescue divers and instructors need to be especially vigilant when other groups are in the vicinity.
17/33Whilst on an overseas expedition a Sports diver conducted a series of dives where they normally surfaced with 110-150 bar in a 12 litre cylinder. Although the dives were relatively long, this low air consumption was attributed to excellent buoyancy and warm water conditions.

Shortly before commencing the ascent from a 43min dive to 24m, the diver signalled to their buddy that they had 150 bar. Whilst conducting a safety stop at 6m, the contents gauge suddenly dropped to 20 bar for no obvious reason.

Once safely back on the boat, other gauges were used to confirm that the cylinder did only have 20 bar left.

Subsequent investigation revealed that the diver's contents gauge would get stuck between 110-150 bar. At this point another diver indicated that their contents gauge would also get stuck at approx 90 bar but then moved once tapped.

Both problematic contents gauges were from the same manufacturer and supplied from the ATG(A) pool at Bicester. All gauges from the manufacturer at Bicester have now been quarantined and are in the process of being checked.
This incident highlights the importance of analysing information provided by divers. It is also important that divers highlight when they have problems with equipment.

The rapid response of the loan pool at Bicester to identification of a problem is also notable. Please let them know if you have problems with any of their equipment.
17/32A diver was unable to clear their ears at 4m and the dive was aborted.

Subsequent examination indicated a light cold was likely to be the problem.
17/31A diver deployed a DSMB from 15m following a dive to a maximum depth of 21m. The reel snagged pulling the diver upwards and causing them to be separated from their buddies. All the divers returned to the surface without further incident
17/30Towards the end of a dive leader training dive to a max depth of 19m, one of the students inflated their DSMB from a depth of 14m. They started to ascend and were unable to stop before breaching the surface at speed.

Although the diver exhibited no symptoms they were placed on oxygen whilst the DDMO was contacted. The DDMO recommended a check up at a recompression chamber which gave the diver the all clear.
17/29As part of a dive leader training dive in a low visibility quarry one of the students became separated whilst observing a demo DSMB demployment. The student inflated their own DSMB and all divers returned to the surface safely.
17/28Following an AS ascent, an Ocean Diver student was descending to 6m. They were unable to clear their ears and the dive was aborted.

Subsequently the diver was diagnosed as temporarily unfit to dive and removed from the cse.
17/27During a dive to 13m an Ocean diver trainee struggled to equalise their ears so descended very slowly. Whilst on the surface they reported having blocked ears but were able to clear them. The second dive took place without incident. As part of the debrief, the diver confirmed they were fit and well.

Approximately two hours after surfacing, the diver reported pain in their ear and a feeling of nausea which was followed by vomiting. The SADS contacted the DDMO who advised that the diver should report to the local minor injuries unit. Shortly afterwards the diver reported that their ear had 'popped' and they felt much better.

At A&E, the diver was diagnosed with an ear infection and given a course of antibiotics. They did not dive the next day.
Divers can feel fit and well on surfacing but become ill later. It is important that all divers know what to do in this situation and particularly how to contact the DDMO.
17/26Two and a half hours after surfacing from dives to 6.7m and 4.6 m respectively a diver complained of feeling unwell. The MRO, in consultation with the DDMO, decided that recompression treatment was required. Following two treatments on consecutive days, the diver was discharged.Diving related injuries can occur at very shallow depths. If in doubt, seek specialist advice.
17/25Following a sheltered water lesson to 2.6m, a diver reported problems with their ears. They were placed on light duties and removed from the Ocean Diver cse.
17/24A junior diver was preparing to use a loan regulator when it was observed to have a minor second stage freeflow. Further inspection revealed significant cracking and a kink in the vicinity of the hose protector.

The regulator was quarantined and returned for repair.
Loan equipment is often not looked after well so, if possible, it should be checked by a competent individual before use.
17/23During a dive to 16m, three divers on a wreck dive became separated in approx 3m of underwater visibility. One diver surfaced whilst the other two deployed a DSMB and attempted to carry out a 3 min safety stop. One of these was unable to maintain the stop and made a buoyant ascent to the surface.

The SADS signalled to the diver above the DSMB to recall the remaining diver who was carrying out the stop. All divers were brought together on the surface without further incident.
Diving in trios increases the risk of separation so consider the use of buddy line's especially with less experienced divers.

Safety stops are probably not appropriate when separation occurs as diving solo carries a significant risk.

Ensure all divers are aware of the separation plan.
17/22Following a dive to 6m a diver experienced ear discomfort during the evening. Medical advice was sought resulting in the individual being put on light duties and removed from their Ocean Diver cse.
17/21On a dive to 45m a diver was approaching their maximum allowed deco time. They started to deploy a DSMB but found it was tangled and took much longer than expected.

As a result of this delay in ascending the amount of compulsory deco required by the computer (Suunto Vyper) increased significantly. The divers ended up surfacing 13 mins later than expected having done nearly double the briefed amount of decompression.
Task fixation at depth can cause loss of situational awareness. On decompression dives it is essential to know at all times how long it will take you to get to the surface. Fortunately the divers had sufficient gas to carry out the additional stops.
17/20Following an ADP dive to 34m a diver was unable to hold their buoyancy on a 6m stop and floated to the surface. They vented gas from their wing and descended back to 6m to rejoin their buddy. The stops were conducted and all divers returned safely to the surface.

On surfacing the diver was placed on oxygen and the DDMO contacted. As a precautionary measure they were evacuated to the chamber and assessed by a suitably train doctor who decided no further treatment was required.
Having broken surface it is inadvisable to descend again.
17/19Whilst descending, a CCR diver experienced difficulty breathing at 6m. The dive was aborted and they returned safely to the surface.
17/18During the 2nd open water dive of an ocean diver course, a diver complained of ear pain. Following attendance at the medical centre they were advised not to dive for 3 days.
17/17Following a dive to 10m, it was observed that a diver had blood in their mask although had not felt any pain. The following morning they had a feeling of blocked ears and attended sick parade. The doctor advised no diving for 7 days but could find no injury.
17/16Whilst preparing diving kit, the cylinder was switched on causing the high pressure hose to rupture approximately 5cm from the pressure gauge.

This was the second failure of an SPG/hose in quick succession. The AT centre has subsequently replaced all SPGs with ones from a more premium brand.
17/15Just prior to conducting a buddy check, a diver's pressure gauge sheared away from the hose striking them on the left cheek. It was subsequently discovered that the gauge had been slowly unscrewed over time causing the spindle to shear off.

The diver suffered minor bruising and a ringing in their left ear for a few hours but no long lasting effects.
17/14Whilst conducting a mid-water DSMB deployment at 8m in a cold inland quarry using an octopus, the second stage started to freeflow and could not be stopped. Whilst this was occurring the diver started to ascend and ended up on the surface. Although not planned the ascent took place at a safe rate.
17/13In low visibility, two divers became separated. After 30 secs they were unable to locate each other and ascended under DSMBs.In low vis consider the use of a buddy line
17/12Whilst conducting a mid-water DSMB deployment at 9m in a cold inland quarry using an octopus, the second stage started to freeflow and could not be stopped. Whilst this was occurring the diver started to ascend and their instructor was unable to prevent them surfacing. The ascent took place at a safe rate.
17/11Whilst inflating a DSMB in 12m of cold water, the second stage of the octopus being used started to freeflow and could not be stopped. The diver went onto their buddy's AS and made a controlled ascent to the surface.
17/10Shortly after reaching the bottom on a 20m dive, and whilst one diver was inflating their DSMB, two divers became separated. Visibility was poor and after 30 secs neither could see the other. The second diver deployed their DSMB and both ascended to the surface without further incident.In low vis consider the use of a buddy line
17/09A diver conducted a dive to 20m which concluded with a 3 minute safety stop at 6m. On leaving the stop they experienced a sharp pain in their right ear.

The DDMO was contacted and a local doctor conducted an examination. No injury could be found and the diver was prescribed painkillers.
17/08Whilst diving at a UK inland site in February, two ocean diver students were conducting AS training as part of OO4. Whilst switching regulators a student's DV went into free flow.

The instructor conducted a controlled AS ascent with the student and the other student completed a normal ascent with the rescue diver.
17/07Whilst diving at a UK inland site in February, a diver was demonstrating DSMB deployment. Their egress octopus started to free flow and could not be stopped. Whilst attempting to do this a second diver had a freeflow from their man regulator which also could not be stopped.

All divers returned to the surface safely from 6m.
17/06An experienced diver entered the water with their drysuit open. Fortunately they were able to maintain buoyancy and were recovered back to the hard boat.
17/05Following a dive to 35m, a CCR diver started to feel unwell and nauseous at 12m. A dil flush did not improve symptoms so they bailed out and returned to the surface.

Subsequently the diver developed an ear infection and cold.
17/04Shortly after entering the water on a CCR dive, the CO2 alarm went off intermittently. Diver aborted and returned to the surface.

Unit was stripped down and more grease applied to the o-ring. No problems were encountered on subsequent dives
17/03During the surface interval between dives, a loud bang was heard and the medium pressure hose connected to a suit inflation bottle was found to have split. The hose was replaced and sometime later, but before diving commenced, this also split with a loud noise.

Subsequent examination revealed that the first stage was not holding inter stage pressure causing pressure to build up in the hose. The first stage was removed from service.
17/02Shortly after entering the water on a CCR dive, the CO2 alarm went off. A diluent flush was conducted but the alarm returned after 1-2 mins. Diver aborted and returned to the surface.

Subsequently the cannister o-ring was examined and a small nick identified. This was replaced and further dives conducted without incident.
17/01Whilst preparing to dive on a popular overseas wreck site, a diver was observed to surface in distress. The commercial operator was using a hard boat and still had divers down so the decision was made that the service RIB would provide assistance.

Upon reaching the casualty they were unresponsive and froth was seen to be coming from their mouth. A diver entered the water and confirmed that the casualty was not breathing.

The casualty was recovered to the RIB and BLS was commenced. This was followed shortly afterwards by oxygen enriched BLS. As the RIB made its way to shore the diver resumed breathing. and was then handed over to the emergency services.

Subsequently it was revealed that the casualty had an Immersion Pulmonary Oedema (IPO) but are expected to make a full recovery.


Without this prompt action it is quite possible that the casualty would have died. This shows the value of monitoring dive sites and being current in BLS.

Further details on incident reporting and the latest form can be accessed at this page.




2016 JS Diving Incident Reports

The table below contains a sanitised version (no names or units!) of the service diving incidents that have been received by JSSADC in 2016.

SerialIncidentRemarks
52/16In the early hours of the morning on the 5th day of a liveaboard expedition, it became apparent that the boat's captain was in a reduced level of consciousness and entering a diabetic coma.

The crew were unable to locate the captain's insulin so the exped medic confirmed the diagnosis by carrying out a blood sugar test. Blood sugar levels were elevated by applying jam, honey and yogurt and oxygen was also administered. Concurrently the boat returned to port (2hrs) where the casualty was handed over to the emergency services.
Not a diving incident!
51/16Following a morning dive, divers on board a RIB changed their cylinders ahead of a second dive. A diver with an air integrated computer (Suunto Cobra 3) completed a buddy check and reported to their buddy and SADS that they had 232 bar of air in their cylinder.

Approximately 13 mins into a dive to 14m, the diver felt difficulty breathing, gave their buddy an out of air signal and transferred to their buddy's alternate source (AS). An AS ascent was conducted and both divers recovered safely to the boat.

Subsequent analysis revealed that the diver had entered the water with approx 50 bar and the '232' bar indicated was actually 23.2 m. This was the depth of the previous dive as the computer was in dive log mode. During the dive, the time (14:55) was misread as 145 bar and a low gas alarm (21% flashing) was also misunderstood.

The diver had dived with this computer many times previously but felt under considerable pressure as this dive was being examined for an instructor qualification. They believe that this pressure significantly contributed to the failure to identify the issue earlier.
Human Factors (HF) are an issue in a significant number of incidents. Complex instruments can be easily misread in pressure situations and it is recommended that a backup analogue gauge is carried when using air integrated computers.

Both divers should be congratulated for safely carrying out an AS ascent.
50/16Approximately 5 mins into a dive to 25m, a diver indicated to his buddy that he had a problem with his gas supply. The diver switched to his alternative regulator and the dive was aborted.

At 6m, a gas check was conducted which revealed that the gauge for the pony cylinder was at 0 bar. The diver transferred to his buddy's alternate source and they surfaced without further issue.

Following surface analysis it became apparent that the diver had been using his pony cylinder since the start of the dive and that there was plenty of air in the main cylinder. Both the DVs for pony and main were very similar which is probably why there was confusion.
If possible, main and pony regulators should significantly differ in colour, make or mouthpiece to reduce the possibility of this happening. Include both pony and main pressure gauges when doing air checks.
49/16Whilst diving on a CCR, a diver experienced a CO2 alarm on their handset. Diver bailed out and aborted the dive.
48/16During an expedition and after a dive to 14m, a diver reported a pain in their arm. The DDMO was contacted and advised taking the diver to the local medical centre. After examination by a doctor, and in consultation with the DDMO, muscle strain was diagnosed and the diver released to carry on diving.If in doubt check with the experts
47/16A small RIB with 6 pax was returning from a dive when it was swamped by a large wave. Almost immediately another wave filled it to the brim and divers exited the RIB

Supported by a second boat, divers used all available implements to empty the RIB which was successfully carried out before the divers got back on board.

On inspection it was found that the auto bailer was blocked by a foreign object. Subsequently divers were also positioned better in the boat to reduce the amount of water entering the RIB from waves.
Ascension Island has particular challenges for the operation of small boats.
46/16During a dive to 15m, a dive computer failed to accurately display the depth. Fortunately the analogue gauge on their console gave a correct indication. Tables were used until a 24 hr period of diving was completed and the diver resumed diving on a replacement computer.When using dive computers it is mandatory that a second means of monitoring depth and time is carried. The SADS must also brief a computer failure plan.
45/16During a BAR check, a diver observed that the gas from their pony didn't smell right. The pony was not used and subsequently examined internally. This revealed flash rusting and approx 100mg of water in a Factair vapour test.
44/16A CCR diver experienced a CO2 alarm at 30m and bailed out. Following a dil flush, they returned to the loop but approximately 3 mins later the alarm returned. The diver bailed out and aborted the dive returning safely to the surface.
43/16During a dive leader lesson, a diver was conducting a mid water DSMB deployment. Whilst reeling out their hair got caught in the reel, causing it to jam and pulling them towards the surface.

The instructor managed to cut the DSMB line using a pair of trauma shears stopping the ascent and allowing a normal ascent to be made.
BZ to the instructor!
42/16At 3m a junior diver reported pain in their ears that wouldn't clear. The dive was aborted and no diving conducted that day.

Following application of ear drops to clear ear wax, the diver was able to dive again. After a further four days of diving, the diver had a similar problem. Following a day off to allow ears to recover they were able to resume diving
41/16During a dive to 15m, a rented dive computer failed to indicate properly. The dive was aborted and diver waited 24 hrs to get back into the water with a replacement computer.
40/16Between dives, a diver stumbled and hurt their toe. They did not complete the 2nd dive but kept the foot elevated and applied ice. Later in the evening the toe was still painful so the the diver was taken to a doctor who diagnosed a small fracture of muscle damage. Following a further 24hrs of treatment the diver returned to diving.
39/16Following a dive to 20m, a diver deployed a DSMB at approx 10-12m in depth. The reel jammed and the diver was brought to the surface before they could release the reel. As a precaution the diver was placed on O2 whilst the DDMO was contacted. No symptoms were observed and, after a 12 hour break, the DDMO cleared the diver to recommence diving.
38/16A diver experienced a CO2 alarm at 18m and bailed out. Following a diluent flush the alarm cleared and the diver returned to the loop only for it to reoccur after approx 3 mins. The diver bailed out again and the diver was aborted.
37/16On the first sea dive of a CCR course, a student was conducting a bailout ascent from 19m. At around 10m they were unable to maintain neutral buoyancy despite the instructor assisting by venting the breathing loop. The student ascended to the surface omitting a precautionary stop at 6m. No ill effects were observed and the student subsequently completed the remainder of the course successfully.CCR bailout ascents, particularly with back mounted lungs, can be challenging.
36/16Prior to filling cylinders at a well know UK inland site, a Factair check was conducted - which was failed. The manager was informed and the compressor placed out of use.Gas checking procedures exist to protect divers. They should be fully complied with.
35/16Shortly after surfacing from a dive to 40m with 6 mins of live deco completed, a diver reported having a pounding headache. This worsened and the casualty was placed on oxygen whilst the DDMO and emergency services were consulted.

Evacuation by lifeboat and ambulance to a RCC took place where the diver was diagnosed with neuro, audio and vestibular DCI. Following two sessions of treatment and an overnight stay in the local hospital the diver was discharged to their medical centre.
The diver was young, fit and complied fully with the profile on their dive computer.

Prompt action and a good EAP ensured that the casualty received the best possible care.
34/16On the last dive of an OD cse, a student experienced difficulty in clearing their ears. Dive was aborted and diver attended sick parade.
33/16During an OD cse, the instructor noticed that a student's weight bely was in danger of coming off. The instructor tightened the belt underwater and the rest of the dive was completed uneventfully.Close monitoring of inexperienced divers allows problems to be identified and addressed early.
32/16During a dive to 26m, a diver believed that he had a bad fill in his cylinder. He changed to his pony and aborted the dive.

Subsequently the cylinder was tested and the gas deemed to be good.
If in doubt, take positive action.
31/16A diver complained of a headache approx 10 mins after surfacing from a dive to 27m. The DDMO was contacted and and requested a neurological examination be conducted by a local doctor. No further symptoms were identified and following a 48 hr break the diver resumed diving.
30/16During an expedition a diver reported difficulties in clearing their ears during descents. A shot line was utilised to allow them to descend slowly on every dive which allowed equalisation to occur.

Following a 24 hr air break, the diver reported bleeding from one ear and was subsequently diagnosed with a perforated ear drum.
29/16During a simulated man over board (MOB) drill a buoy was thrown over the side of the boat. Before the individual deploying the buoy was able to regain their grip the cox'n initiated a rapid turn with the result that a real MOB situation occurred.

The lifejacket inflated on the MOB and the drill was stopped allowing the person to be safely recovered.

Coxswains need to be aware of their passengers at all times especially during simulated and real emergencies
28/16Whilst diving as part of a trio to 12m in good underwater visibility (6m), a diver became distracted and separated from the other two. All divers carried out the correct drills and were reunited at the surface.Trio diving carries a greater risk of separation. All divers must be vigilant.
27/16Diver on 3rd open water dive of OD cse reported tingling in fingers and upset stomach.

DDRC contacted and advised placing on oxygen as a precaution whilst evacuated to RCC. Journey took 2hrs by car by which time symptoms had gone.

Doctor diagnosed ingestion of air/sea water and no requirement for further treatment.
Consider use of DDMO for advice and emergency services for movement of casualty.
26/16On the second dive of an ocean diver course, a student complained of ear pain during the descent. They were advised not to dive for 7 days.
25/16Following a descent into current a CCR diver experienced a CO2 alarm at 33m. After a diluent flush this cleared but then returned after approx 8 mins. The dive was aborted and a bailout ascent conducted.Likely cause is inadequate grease around cannister o-ring.
24/16After the first open water of an Ocean Diver course, a student complained of ear pain. After attending the medical centre they were advised not to dive for 7 days.
23/16Whilst diving on a wreck at 39m with visibility of 2-3m, two divers become separated. Both deployed DSMBs, carried out their decompression stops, ascended safely and were reunited on the surface.In low visibility extra care needs to be taken to remaining together as a pair.
22/16Whilst ascending from 38m, a diver lost control of their buoyancy at approximately 12m and made a gradual ascent to the surface. No mandatory stops were missed.

The diver was initially placed on oxygen whilst the DDMO was contacted. The advice was to remove from oxygen, monitor for signs of barotrauma and not dive for 24 hrs.

The diver's buddy deployed a DSMB and ascended normally.
If in doubt, place on oxygen and call the DDMO for advice
21/16A diver complained of ear pain ten minutes into their first open water dive which was aborted.
On attending the medical centre they were advised not to dive for 7 days.
20/16A diver complained of ear pain after their first open water dive. On attending the medical centre they were advised not to dive for 7 days.
19/16A very experienced diver surfaced from the second of two dives to approx 29m with a powerful headache. This was attributed to dehydration and ibuprofen taken to relieve the pain which lasted for approximately 24 hrs.

Approximately 58 hours after surfacing the diver felt tingling in the left arm (shoulders, hand , fingers) and weakness in the left leg. The DDMO was called who diagnosed DCI and recommended recompression treatment which caused the symptoms to subside.

The diver has a previous history of DCI having had a skin bend. A PFO check at this time was negative.
Any abnormality after diving, particularly those involving neural factors, should be considered a DCI and the DDMO consulted.
18/16Whilst switching to an ADP mix during in water decompression, a diver started to ascend and was unable to prevent themselves surfacing. Their dive computer showed 1 min of missed decompression stops.

The diver was placed on medical oxygen and the DDMO contacted. The advice received was to monitor for signs and symptoms of DCI but no further treatment was required.
If in doubt contact the DDMO.

Diver showed no symptoms and was authorised to conduct no stop diving on subsequent day.
17/16During a dive to 20m, two divers were unable to maintain buoyancy and made a rapid ascent from 13m missing out on their safety stop. DDMO was contacted and advised that they be placed on oxygen and given precautionary recompression treatment.If in doubt contact the DDMO.
16/16During a descent, a junior diver experienced pain in their ear. Despite this they continued the dive only reporting the issue to the SADS on the surface. The following day a discharge was noticed on the pillow. Subsequently they were diagnosed with barotrauma in both ears. Not equalising can cause injury.
Also consider use of DDMO for advice when divers report problems on surfacing
15/16Whilst teaching DSMB deployment a diver's Alternate Source (AS) went into freeflow. Diver transferred onto buddy's AS whilst cylinder was shut down. Diver returned to surface without further issue.
14/16Whilst working hard at 12m and 22 mins after commencing a dive, a CCR diver experienced a CO2 alarm. Alarm cleared after a dil flush but then returned. Diver bailed out and aborted dive.Likely cause is inadequate grease around cannister o-ring.
13/16During the shake out dive of an exped using borrowed equipment from loan pool stores, 6 of 27 dive computers failed due to unserviceable depth sensors.This issue is being investigated by ATG(A).
12/16Whilst practising AS drills in cold inland site (March), a diver's octopus began to freeflow and could not be stopped. Diver transferred onto buddy's AS whilst cylinder was shut down. On re-opening the cylinder the freeflow continued. Dive aborted and AS ascent carried out.
11/16Whilst practising AS drills in cold inland site (March), a diver's octopus began to freeflow and could not be stopped. Diver transferred onto buddy's AS whilst cylinder was shut down. On re-opening the cylinder the freeflow had ceased.
10/16An experienced diver carried out continuation/refresher training on Alternate Source (AS) ascents at the beginning of a dive. Approx 10 mins, and several gas checks, later they felt a tightness in their regulator and transferred onto their buddy's AS. It was then discovered that they had been breathing from their pony cylinder.Always include pony gauges in gas checks. Also, if possible, main and pony regulators should significantly differ in colour, make or mouthpiece to reduce the possibility of this happening.
09/16Following an ADP dive, one diver was unable to hold their depth in a surge and came to the surface. Second diver spent 7 minutes further in the water before surfacing whilst putting up DSMB and completing stops.Buoyancy control when conducting ADP dives is vital. Where possible DSMBs should be put up before deco stops especially when surge is present. Separated divers should surface as soon as allowed by their computer.
08/16A sports diver was at their maximum depth of 35m when a fin came off. The diver managed to recover the fin but doing so required a descent to 36m.
07/16Diver commenced a shore dive and felt a significant amount of water down their back. Dive was aborted when it was realised that dry suit zip was open.Remember to include your dry suit zip in the BAR check
06/16During a surface interval, a diver was sat underneath a metal sign. When they stood up they caught their head on the sign resulting in the loss of skin and hair. First aid was applied and the bleeding stopped.
05/16DSMB reel jammed during mid water deployment. Diver let go of reel and ascended normallyGood drills, better to let go of a jammed reel then be brought to the surface.
04/16Whilst ascending under an SMB as part of a sports diver lesson, a diver became inverted at 3m, tangled in the line and then ascended in an uncontrolled fashion. Diver failed to correctly carry out dry suit inversion drills.
03/16During weight check on first dive of an exped, a diver's fin strap broke. Dive aborted.
02/16 After the first dive of an overseas exped, a very experienced diver complained of a serious headache which took approx 10 hours to clear. The DDMO requested a full neuro check to be conducted which revealed nothing further. Diver told not to dive for 4 days.If in doubt, contact DDMO
01/16Following three dives at a UK inland site (5m, 8m and 18m) , an Ocean Diver student complained of hip pain. After liaison with DDMO, diver was taken to chamber and treatment was commenced approx 6 hours after surfacing.Aggravating factors include cold (Feb), multiple dives with training ascents and reverse profile dives.

Beware the pressure to do too much on a single day!

Further details on incident reporting and the latest form can be accessed at this page.