2019 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 2019.

19/76During a DSMB deployment a diver's AS went into freeflow. The diver switched to their pony regulator and recovered to the surface without further issue.
19/75During a training scenario, a boat attempted to lower a drop cylinder of spare gas down a SMB to divers. Unfortunately to remain at depth the divers had to let go of the SMB reel which drifted off along with the drop cylinder.

The divers deployed a DSMB and recovered to the surface without further mishap.

As the boat attempted to recover the cylinder and SMB it became entangled around the prop and they had had to deploy an anchor as they were close to shore. Once the entanglement was clear they were able to recover the anchor and pick up the divers.

19/73A diver completed a dive to 40m with decompression without any issues.

A number of hours later the diver fainted after being stood still for a prolonged period. The DDMO was contacted and advised that it was very unlikely to be diving related with low blood sugar being the likely caused. This was subsequently confirmed by a GP.
19/72During a CCR training dive in low visibility, two divers became separated towards the end of the dive. Both returned to the surface under markers without any further issues.
19/71During a crossover course, an experienced diver was unable to hold their safety stop at 6m and drifted to the surface. Shortly afterwards all divers were reunited on the surface.
19/70Whilst rolling off the side of a RIB, a diver delayed their exit and landed on another diver. All divers indicated that they were ok and the dive continued without further disruption.Where two divers are rolling off the side of a RIB at the same time it is useful to have them roll away from each other, i.e one fwd and the other aft.
19/69Whilst diving to 14m, a diver experienced pain in their ear at around 12m. The dive was aborted and the diver did not dive for the rest of the week.
19/68During OO2 a diver experienced pain in their ears at a depth of 6m. After attendance at the medical centre, they were removed from diving until the incipient cold had cleared up.
19/67Following a normal practise AS ascent from 6m, a diver was unable to clear their ears and the dive was aborted. Subsequently the diver was diagnosed with bruising and removed from diving for a week.
19/66Whilst driving an diving RIB, the cox was asked by the police to help located and recover a small dog that had fallen in a river. The dog was located behind a fender, rescued and reunited with its owner.
19/65On a dive to 20m, an Ocean Diver experienced problems with their fin. Whilst the Dive Leader was assisting them the third diver started to experience pain in their ear.

In order to alleviate the pain, the third diver ascended slightly but then lost sight of the other two as the pain compelled them to continue to ascend until they reached the surface. Once they realised the third diver was missing, the two remaining divers aborted the dive and all divers returned to the surface.

On the surface the diver with ear pain was deaf in one ear and it also had blood coming from it. They were evacuated to the nearby hospital and are undergoing follow up treatment.
19/64Whilst conducting OO2, a trainee Ocean Diver felt breathless at 1.2 and aborted the dive. One the surface they spat out their regulator but were unable to locate the BCD inflation button.

A short while afterwards, the instructor surfaced and inflated the diver's BCD. Concurrently a the surface cover deployed a diver to assist the trainee.

During the incident it was possible that the trainee ingested water so the DDMO was contacted as a precaution.
19/63During a dive in warm waters, a diver cut their arm whilst negotiating a swim through.

All parties were content that there was no medical urgency so a second wave completed their dive whilst the wound was washed and dressed.

The diver was subsequently taken to local medical facilities where the wound was glued and they were told that diving could continue.
19/62During a dive in low visibility two divers became separated. The diver without an SMB deployed a DSMB and all returned to the surface without further incident.
19/61A diver experienced sinus pain whilst carrying out lifts during the sheltered water element of an ocean diver course.

Following assessment by the medical centre, they were removed from diving for two days
19/60During the descent on the third open water dive of an Ocean Diver course, a diver was unable to equalise their ears.

The dive was aborted and the diver removed from diving for two days
19/59A diver completed the sheltered water lessons from the Ocean Diver syllabus (OS 1-5) in an open water site. During part of the lesson they ingested a small amount of sea water which they spat out immediately. They reported being fit to continue although did have some nausea which was attributed to the minimal swell.

Subsequently the diver had two theory lessons and at the end of them reported that they didn't feel well and had some visual disturbances. On their way to the medical centre, the diver reported tingling in their wrist and forearm.

On direction from the DDMO, the diver was taken to the local recompression chamber where they were treated. Subsequently a barotrauma was diagnosed but no DCI was present.
19/58Whilst entering the water from a hard boat, a CCR diver caught their OCB bailout hose caught on part of the boat railings leaving them hanging from the side of the boat. This pulled the LH t-piece from the counterlung which breached the integrity of the CCR loop meaning that it flooded once they were freed.

Unfortunately the bailout cylinder was not turned on which meant that they were unable to breathe from the open circuit bailout. Once this was rectified the diver was recovered to the boat without any further issue.

19/57A shot was placed on a wreck but bounced off. It was too short to reach the seabed so the first pair of divers descended and found it in mid-water. The dive was aborted.
19/56Whilst swimming in a current, a diver's fin buckle broke resulting in a limited ability to fin.

The dive was aborted and the divers returned to the surface.
19/55During a dive on a wreck the current pushed divers off the wreck so they deployed DSMBs. As they approached a shipping channel, they were recalled and returned to the surface.
19/54At the end of a dive to 20m, a diver was unable to hold a safety stop at 6m and slowly ascended to the surface.

Prior to the dive, the diver had reduced the weight that they were carrying.
Weighting needs to be correct for the most buoyant part of the dive which is when the cylinder has least gas in it, i.e at the end of the dive.
19/53During boat loading a diver cut their finger. This was treated with a plaster which stopped the bleeding.
19/52Whilst conducting a full mask clearing drill at 11m, a diver inhaled water. They felt sick and indicated that they wished to abort the dive which took place.

The DDMO was contacted and advised that the diver should be monitored for the next 24 hrs.
19/51During a DSMB deployment drill, a diver in a trio lost control of their buoyancy at approx 7m and ascended to the surface. The other divers completed a safety stop and arrived at the surface approx 4 mins later.Best practise is to omit safety stops in the event of a separation.
19/50Contrary to the brief, two pairs of divers travelled in the opposite direction along an underwater feature. Concerned about the distance between them, one pair was recalled.
19/49Ona dive to 11m, A diver lost control of their buoyancy. After almost reaching the surface they descended to 5m but realised that they were now separated.

The separation drill was completed and divers recovered to the surface without further incident.
19/48A diver had trouble clearing their ears during a dive to 9m. The dive was aborted.
19/47At the end of a dive, a diver conducted a surface swim to move away from the shore. This was done by breathing on a snorkel.
A wave broke over the diver's head and they ingested sea water.

When recovered to the boat the dive started to cough up small amounts of blood. The DDMO was contacted and the diver placed on oxygen.

Subsequently the diver was recovered to the medical centre where they were examined and a precautionary chest x-ray completed.
19/46Whilst walking along the side of a pool, a diver slipped over. No injuries were sustained.
19/45Whilst recovering into a RIB, it was noticed that the velcro strap on a BCD securing the cylinder had come loose. The diver and equipment were recovered without further incident.
19/44A diver conducting an ADP dive with a 50% stage had a backup computer that did not support gas switching. It was not switched into gauge mode so indicated far more deco than the primary. When the diver left the water having cleared their primary computer the backup was still showing that deco was required.Computers must be suitable for the type of diving that is being undertaken
19/43Whilst diving to 30m, two divers became separated. Both deployed DSMBs and ascended to the surface omitting safety stops.
19/42Whilst diving in a busy port divers were briefed to move in a particular direction to avoid the shipping channel. One pair of divers failed to comply with this direction and were recalled by the SADS.

All divers were recovered without further incident.
19/41During a deep dive two divers became separated. The briefed procedure for separation was to look for 30 secs, deploy a DSMB and ascend omitting any safety stops.

One of the divers had live decompression which they completed but then did another 3 minutes of safety stops. As a result they diver spent approx 6-7 minutes in the water without a buddy.
Divers need to comply with the procedures briefed by the SADS
19/40Whilst diving in a busy port from a single boat, two pairs of divers were briefed to move on a particular heading. One pair of divers failed to comply with this direction and were recalled by the SADS.

All divers were recovered without further incident.
19/39Following a moderately strenuous dive, a diver reported that they had a slight headache. After returning to shore, they reported feeling light headed and then fainted, although did not lose consciousness.

Oxygen was administered and the DDMO was contacted. The DDMO spoke to the casualty and diagnosed hypercapnia brought on by skip breathing and dehydration.

The casualty was taken to medical facilities. After further investigations they were discharged.
Care should be taken to ensure divers are properly hydrated and briefed of the dangers of skip breathing.
19/38As part of a dive lead assessment, three divers visited a large wreck some distance from shore at a depth of 30m. During the return mid-water swim, some of the divers struggled to maintain buoyancy and used more gas than planned.

The dive leader was not aware that their buddy reached 70 bar and only found out when they got to 50 bar. Whilst conducting a short decompression stop it was necessary for the diver low on gas to breathe from another's Alternate Source.

The group surfaced some way from the exit point and had to clamber over rocks to reach it.
Monitoring gas contents is a key aspect of dive leadership.
19/37Prior to deploying a second wave of divers, a MAYDAY call was heard and it was realised that the vessel in distress was approx 1 NM away. At the scene, a RIB was found with 1 x unconscious non-breathing casualty on board and two divers still in the water.

The team split with half conducting BLS on the casualty and the remainder recovering the divers once they surfaced.

After some time, the RNLI arrived and took over the casualty who was subsequently declared to have passed away. The other divers were returned to shore.
19/36After completing the training element of AO2, divers deployed DSMBs and ascended. One of the divers was unable to hold their safety stop and ascended to the surface. All divers reported well.

After a debrief, a training and assessment plan was agreed.
19/35Whilst entering the water for OD 4, a diver stated that they did not wish to do any further diving.

The diver was returned to the shore and removed from the diving programme.
19/34Following a dive to 15m, a diver complained that their legs felt 'funny and numb'. The diver was placed on oxygen and the DDMO contacted.

The casualty was taken to a medical facility and after additional consultation with the DDMO no further action was required.
19/33Following a dive to 30m, two divers were completing a 3 minute safety stop. One of the dive computers (Sub Gear XP10) showed error code E6. The diver switched to their backup device (depth timer) and completed the safety stop.

Subsequent investigation revealed that error code E6 is a battery failure although there was no indication of this during the pre-dive check.

No further diving was planned but if it had then the diver would have needed to have 24hrs clear before they could have returned to the water.
Where possible all divers should carry two computers.
19/32During pre-dive checks a BCD was noticed to be automatically inflating. The AP200 securing nut was checked and found to be tight.

Further investigation revealed that the inside of the inflator was heavily encrusted. Following ultra sonic cleaning the inflator functioned correctly.

The BCD had been received from the AT Loan Pool at Bicester so the reporting procedures in AGAI Vol 1 Chapter 11 were followed.
19/31A FACTAIR F2235 was used to test the gas from a commercial overseas provider. It was in date for calibration.

A short time into the test, the CO2 tube was completely purple with a reading of 2500ppm. The centre reported that they'd had no issues with gas.

The test was run again using tubes from a different source and had the same outcome.

Suspecting that the FACTAIR was faulty, a test device was obtained from another source and this produced a reading of 100ppm CO2 which is well within limits.

DDST were contacted and informed of the situation and the exped was given authorisation to dive using the gas.
19/30An Ocean Diver trainee was unable to equalise their ears at 6m whilst descending down a shelving shore. The dive was aborted and they were taken to the MRS where a partially blocked Eustachian tube was identified.
19/29An experienced diver was leading a depth progression dive to 35m wearing a main and pony cylinder. After approx 10 mins they felt breathing becoming tight on the DV in their mouth and approximately 2 breaths later it ceased delivery of gas.

The diver switched to what they believed to be their secondary DV but shortly afterwards reverted to the octopus as they did not wish to deplete it. The dive was aborted and they returned to the surface without further incident.

On the surface it was discovered that the pony cylinder was empty whilst the main had 170 bar.

Both the primary and secondary DV were the same colour and came from the right hand side. Whilst kitting up the diver believed they were distracted which caused them to use the incorrect DV.
Gas checks must include both primary & secondary (pony) cylinders.

It should be easy for divers to differentiate between the primary and secondary regulator to avoid them breathing off the incorrect one.
19/28During a sheltered water lesson (OS4) a diver was unable to clear their ears on the descent and they were removed from the water.

After medical examination they were found to be fit to dive.
19/27A short time into a dive, an instructor noticed that their student's Suunto dive computer had not entered dive mode. The dive was aborted using the secondary computer to provide dive information. On surfacing the computer was isolated.
19/26Whilst conducting a simulated ADP dive to 30m, a diver attempted to switch to their stage at approx 10m. With the mouthpiece in their mouth, they turned the cylinder on and the first stage immediately had a freeflow. Their buddy offered a spare regulator from their stage and the diver switched to this.

Once the diver had regained their composure they returned to breathing from their independent twins. They were observed to be breathing and finning hard to remain at 10m but then indicated that they were out of gas.

Again the buddy gave the diver a spare regulator from their stage but by this time they had descended to approx 15m. Whilst trying to regain neutral buoyancy they ascended to the surface missing 1 min of live deco.

The divers were placed on oxygen, the DDMO was called and evacuation arranged to the nearest chamber. After investigation the doctor decided that no further treatment was required.

The diver was found to have 70 bar in one cylinder and 10 in the other.

Cylinders should be turned on before putting the mouthpiece in. It is also recommended they they are switched on for the entire diver rather than leaving this to the deco stop

Ensure stage cylinders are included in buddy checks.

The immediate action for divers on independent twinsets who run out of gas in one is to switch to their other cylinder.
19/25Whilst diving in Cyprus, an exped called Aki Ops to book back in and were informed that the chamber had gone offline sometime previously. Despite the exped being booked out with the ops room this information had not been passed to them.
19/24During Sports diver depth progression, a diver conducted a gas contents check at 25m and were surprised at how much they had used to the extent that they refused to believe their contents gauge. The other divers in the water believed the diver to be experiencing the early onset of nitrogen narcosis and they ascended to a shallower depth.

As part of the debrief, the diver agreed that he had felt unusual which was also attributed to narcosis.
19/23Whilst exiting a swim through the integrated weight pouch on a BC was pulled out of it's pocket causing the diver to lose 2kg of lead. The diver was able to conduct a normal ascent.
19/22During a buddy check the inflator on an AP BC was depressed but continued to inflate even when released. All other BCs were checked and no issues were found.This can happen when the plastic securing nut is loosened and re-tightened.
19/21While descending to 18m a diver experienced pain in their ears. They tried to maintain neutral buoyancy and equalise them but instead ascended and surfaced.

On the surface both diver and buddy were placed on oxygen and the DDMO contacted. Following an examination by a doctor all divers were cleared to dive again.
19/20A trainee diver experienced difficulty equalizing their ears whilst conducting OO1. The dive was aborted and the diver sent for medical examination. Subsequently they were diagnosed with inflammed ear drums and removed from diving for 10 days.
19/19A trainee diver experienced difficulty equalizing their ears whilst conducting OS3 in a SWTA. The dive was aborted and the diver sent for medical examination. Subsequently they were cleared to continue diving
19/18A trainee CCR diver had descended to 13m, had switched to high set point and was in the process of conducting a linearity check. At this point the handset went into error, flicked between PO2 readings and went dead. The diver bailed out onto a 7 litre cylinder and recovered to the surface using their backup computer.
19/17During a CCR air diluent course, a trainee failed to hold a safety stop at 6m and gradually drifted to the surface. On arrival at the surface they were recovered to the boat.
19/16Whilst conducting training lifts on OO2, a trainee found they could only clear their ears by descending very slowly. This meant that it was not possible to complete all lifts during the table limits for the dive.

The trainee was taken to a doctor who was unable to find any problems but advised them not to dive the following day.
19/15An Ocean Diver trainee was unable to clear their ears after a CBL during OO3. The dive was aborted and the diver taken to a doctor who diagnosed slight redness of the ears and a possibility of a minor barotrauma. The trainee was unable to complete the course.
19/14An instructor on an Ocean Diver entered the water via a stride entry at which point their pony regulator started to freeflow. The instructor was able to turn it off and then back on again which stopped the freeflow.

With approx 100bar left in the cylinder, the instructor elected to continue the dive to 10m. No further problems were experienced.
19/13Following a dive to 14m for 17 mins, a diver experienced a headache after their evening meal. When they woke the next day the headache was still present so the DDMO was contacted.

The DDMO advised a visit to the local chamber where the doctor conducted recompression treatment which did not alleviate the symptoms. Subsequently a CT scan was also conducted to check for a stroke which did not identify any cause for the headache.

Subsequently the diver felt better and the headache has not returned.
19/12Following successful completion of OS1-3 in a swimming pool, a diver was completing OS4 in a SWTA. At a depth of 2.5m they indicated that they wished to ascend and on surfacing reported that they were unable to clear their ears.

The diver attended the medical centre but no ear problems were observed.
19/11A diver was carrying a twinset on their back when one of the shoulder clips failed. The increased weight caused the second clip to fail and the twinset fell to the floor bruising the diver's calf.
19/10During OS4 in a SWTA, a trainee diver signalled up to his instructor. On the surface the diver explained that they felt faint and were unable to clear their ears.

The dive was aborted and the diver was subsequently found fit to continue diving by a doctor.
19/9A diver realised that they required extra weight so placed it in the pocket of their BCD. During the dive this became dislodged and fell onto the seabed.

Although the weight was found by another diver in the group they did not try to ascertain whether it had been lost by anyone.

During the safety stop, the diver who had lost their weight was unable to control their buoyancy and slowly drifted to the surface.
19/8During an ADP dive, a diver switched to their 50% stage regulator and immediately received a wet breathe. The diver returned to their back gas until the buddy could hand over their own stage with a 50% mixture.

The regulator was inspected by a qualified technician on surfacing but no problem could be found with it.
19/7On surfacing a twinset diver heard an unusual noise from their wing. On investigation the wing dump valve was found to be u/s
19/6A diver entered the water and immediately signalled to the boat that there was an issue. When they were recovered to the boat it became clear that the diver's dry suit zip had not been closed.
19/5A CCR diver was operating from a hard boat with an unusual bench seat arrangement. In order to prevent twinsets slipping, a thin vertical angle bracket was installed on the seats.

Whilst kitting up in a swell, the CCR diver moved sufficiently that the angle is likely to have damaged the diluent cylinder. This was noticed when the diver entered the water and the dive was aborted.
19/4During a training Alternate Source ascent, a diver's fin came off and was lost. The buddy elected to carry out a CBL on the diver without a fin and both divers surfaced without further incident.
19/3Two divers were conducting training CBLs from 20-6m. After one successful ascent a diver was unable to equalise sufficient to allow a descent. The dive was aborted.
19/2A pair advanced divers were refreshing their skills by conducting two CBLs from 20-6m. During the second lift, one diver was unable to dump gas from their dry suit quickly enough to prevent both reaching the surface.

Subsequent analysis showed the that the dry suit auto dump valve was not operating correctly due to damage probably caused during transit to the dive site.