Three years ago in the North Sea, a commercial diver was inspecting a drilling rig more than 260 feet below the surface when his umbilical got detached from the dive support vessel Bibby Topaz resulting to loss of communication and life support.
The saturation diver kept calm and sat still to conserve the air supply from his emergency tank. The cold environment made him lose consciousness minutes thereafter. An ROV was dispatched to scour the area in an effort to find the diver and rescue him as soon as possible. He was located 38 minutes after the umbilical got disconnected. Upon removing his helmet, he was already blue but a couple of resuscitations made him regain consciousness and he eventually recovered.
The diver, Chris Lemons, was commended for his professionalism to withstand the unexpected challenge. His employer Bibby Offshore plans to share his experience through a documentary video called “Lifeline” that will include real footage from that night. The company aims to stimulate industry awareness regarding safety measures and human reactions during emergency encounters.
“Whilst technical safety films are hugely valuable tools, Lifeline does not set out to address safety issues from this point of view, rather it focuses on the human response and personal impact.
“In addition to the many lessons to be learned from the incident, its aim is to make us consider the consequences of things going wrong, and Lifeline is a vivid reminder of the preciousness of a human life.” Bibby Offshore’s QHSE Advisor Chris Cleghorn stated.
Bibby Offshore has also established a Diving Safety Workgroup to address safety improvement and to prevent such events from happening again. Its focus is primarily implementing best practices in diving safety, development in diving equipment and gathering response from individuals or associations involved in the diving industry.