Investigation of a demand-controlled rebreather in connection with a diving accident.

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Investigation of a demand-controlled rebreather in connection with a diving accident.

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Title: Investigation of a demand-controlled rebreather in connection with a diving accident.
Author: Franberg, O; Ericsson, M; Larsson, A; Lindholm, P
Abstract: This paper describes the examination of a Halcyon RB80 semi-closed underwater breathing apparatus used in a diving accident in 2007. The apparatus was supplied with trimix (oxygen, nitrogen and helium) containing 31% oxygen. The duration of the dive was 105 minutes at 28 meters' average depth in fresh water, with a 19-minute oxygen decompression stop at 6 meters. Upon surfacing the diver experienced seizures and signs of severe neurological deficits. The apparatus was tested with regard to the oxygen fraction drop from the supply gas to the breathing loop--i.e., the oxygen fraction inhaled by the diver (FiO2) was investigated. The FiO2 was measured and found to be lower than the value stated on the manufacturer's web page at the time of the accident. This investigation suggests that during the dive, the actual FiO2% was 17.9-25.3%, which is considerably lower than the FiO2% used for decompression calculations (30%). The underestimation of FiO2 resulted in too short and/or too few decompression stops during ascent. The low FiO2 would also put a diver at risk of hypoxia at shallow depths. It is concluded that inadequate information on the performance of the rebreather was a major contributing factor to this accident.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine : Journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9756
Date: 2011

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