Incident Report

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

ABLJ and Drysuit Inflation

Incident Date


Incident Description

A diver using 2x12L side mounted cylinders horseshoe style ABLJ and a neoprene drysuit with a standard AP Valves push button inflation unit mounted in the centre of the chest encountered problems at -45m in a large French resurgence cave. On the descent the loss of buoyancy from the compression of the suit had been counteracted by inflation of the ABLJ. At a critical point the ABLJ had become sufficiently buoyant to depress the suit inflation valve. The diver noticed a slight increase in buoyancy and grabbed a nearby rock to stabilise himself. In a few seconds the suit had become massively inflated and the diver clung vertically to the rock unable to let go. The legs became so elongated and full of air that the divers feet became detached from his flippers. Eventually the diver was plucked from his rock and blasted into the ceiling. The direct feeds to both the suit and ABLJ were detached as it was not clear to the narced diver which was the source of over inflation. All air in the suit was dumped and the diver became massively under buoyant and could not re-establish his feet into his drysuit boots and flippers. The diver crawled sheepishly from the sump to an extended decompression stop.

Lessons Learned

Ensure correct operation of inflation valves. Test new gear configuration in a safe environment.
Line Management Negligible
Gas Management Negligible
Equipment Management Major
Equipment Failure Negligible
Training Major
Medical Negligible
Planning Minor
Procedural Error Major
Cave Environment Minor
Weather Negligible
Other Factor Negligible