Incident Report

|Incident Report
Incident Report 2020-05-01T16:26:00+00:00

Rockfalls and Lost Gear

Incident Date


Incident Description

Divers A (QD) B (Trainee with over 60 dives) and C (experienced Caver/Novice Diver) planned a dive through a 20 sump to gain access to a deep water airbell with the intention of climbing out to explore dry passageways beyond. As the sump was short and shallow each Diver elected to dive with only one breathing set to make life easier on the 1 hour plus carry. The dive in was uneventful. Upon reaching the airbell the divers removed their gear and secured it using an in-place etrier and a large flake of rock. A steep and unstable 6 metre mud climb was negotiated and in the process 4 large boulders were dislodged. The first whilst there were two divers in the pool below. Upon returning to the sump pool the divers began to kit up for the dive out. Diver B dropped a finn which sank and at some point Diver Cs harness bottle and Reg were dislodged from their mooring and sank over 5m to the bottom. Diver B followed the jump line to the bottom of the sump but was unable to locate the lost equipment. The escape was formulated as follows: Visibility was poor and the characteristics of the sump did not lend themselves to air sharing so Diver A and B were to dive out and Diver B would return with two bottles one of which he would hand over to Diver C. Back at dive base Diver A also lent Diver B one of his cut down finns. Upon reaching the airbell and stranded Diver C it was realised that Diver C had also lost his lead and would not be able to dive safely. Diver B made another attempt to locate the lost equipment but this time instead of following the dive line which descended at an angle used his safety reel fitted with a small lead weight like a plumb line. This time he succeeded in finding the gear on a steep silt floor at approx 5 metres and experienced great difficulty in raising the gear to the airbell with no means of buoyancy and disparate finn sizes. By the time the airbell was reached Diver B was exhausted and tangled in his own safety line. Eventually Diver C was reunited with his gear and both divers returned to dive base.

Lessons Learned

In hindsight the decision to dive on singles significantly reduced alternatives for problem solving. Risk to gear hanging below climb: Falling boulders could have damaged other 2 sets of gear and/or Divers. Ensure that gear is left in a safe and secure place.
Line Management Unknown
Gas Management Unknown
Equipment Management Major
Equipment Failure Unknown
Training Unknown
Medical Unknown
Planning Major
Procedural Error Unknown
Cave Environment Major
Weather Unknown
Other Factor Unknown