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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200970051 - Employee Killed While Deep Sea Diving

Accident: 200970051 -- Report ID: 1032700 -- Event Date: 03/15/2000
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30069941003/22/20000919Fv/Blue Fin
On March 15, 2000, Employee #1 and a coworker were diving for sea urchins from the vessel FV/Blue Fin, approximately 4 mi off the Oregon shoreline. The coworker had approximately 10 years of experience, but this was Employee #1's first commercial dive for urchins. Twelve minutes into the dive, the coworker realized he was getting low on air and slowly surfaced. When he reached the surface, he noticed Employee #1 approximately 15 ft away. Employee #1 said "I'm over here," then rolled onto his face and started to sink. The coworker tried to help him1, but couldn't due to his weight. He finally got his weight belt off and, with the help of the Blue Fin's tender, pulled Employee #1 into the boat. The tender started CPR while the coworker radioed for help and got the boat underway for Port Orford. Employee #1 died, but the autopsy was inconclusive as the cause. The medical examiner felt that Employee #1 died from lack of air or from bad air. It was possible that Employee #1's lack of experience caused him to panic when the surface supplied air became low, and made him rush to the surface, causing an air embolism. The tender later stated that when Employee #1 was pulled into the boat, he had frothy blood coming from his mouth, nose, and one eye. He thought that Employee #1, who was making no sounds at that point, was already dead, but attempted CPR nevertheless. Apparently, there had been a break in the air supply line between the air compressor head and the volume tank. As a result, the compressor was not able to supply enough air to the two divers, who had reached a depth of approximately 52 ft.
Keywords: air pressure, embolism, cpr, diving, inexperience, air hose, air line, mech malfunction, commercial diving
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300699410 Fatality Other Occupation not reported

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