Carl Spencer dead after dive on Britannic


From The Independent

British diver dies in Greek filming incident
A British diver died on an underwater filming mission exploring the sister ship of the Titanic, Greek Government officials said tonight.
More at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/british-diver-dies-in-greek-filming-incident-1690499.html

Comment: It was Carl Spencer who, as some of you may recall, has been involved in several expeditions related to both the Titanic and the Britannic. He was the man who found the conclusive evidence of the mine which sank the ship and was the first one to film an open watertight door inside the Britannic's wreck.
 
From The Gaurdian:

Tributes paid to diver Carl Spencer, killed filming Titanic sister ship
The British diver who died making a film about the sister ship of the Titanic was a "legend" with unrivalled skills, friends and colleagues said today.

Carl Spencer, 37, suffered an attack of the bends while making a documentary about the Britannic, which sank in the Aegean Sea in 1916.
More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/may/25/deep-sea-diver-carl-spencer-dies
 
Don't be too surprised to see a lot of attention focused on the rebreather which Carl used on that last dive. Something went wrong and he did an emergency ascent and it went wrong enough that he didn't stop to decompress. His is the third death in as many weeks where this exact same rebreather was being used.

It may only be a freaky co-incidence...that sort of thing happens...but only the investigation will bear that out.
 
J

Jeff Brebner

Guest
In my reading it seems diving accidents are rarely well investigated. Coroners don't usually really understand the technology and tend to put it down to drowning.

Rebreathers are finicky technology. They can do amazing things, but the potential for disaster and the rate at which they occur seem worrisome. If an air tank fails, you're out of air. You can grab your buddy or a spare air source and move on. A rebreather can abruptly give you a fatal chemical cocktail.
 
I need to amend that to three deaths in one week. At least that's what one article I read asserted. Coroners may not be all that interested but don't be too surprised if a few lawyers are sniffing around hoping for some fresh game.
 
For obvious reasons I cannot go into details regarding an official investigation which is currently underway. However, I know that the expert witness for the court -appointed by the Greek authorities- is a very experienced diver who is highly familiar with the equipment necessary for this kind of dives. For this reason, I am more than confident that this tragic event will be very well-investigated.

Michail,
 
J

Jeff Brebner

Guest
I hope it is well investigated. There are always lessons to be learned that could make things safer for future divers.

In Dark Descent (Kevin F. McMurray) a coroner blamed a death on the diver's tank valves being closed. When told that the valves had been closed AFTER the accident to preserve the contents for testing the coroner said, "What difference does it make? The guy is dead."
 
>>For this reason, I am more than confident that this tragic event will be very well-investigated. <<

That's good to hear. In the meantime, I'm going to take the very wise advice which Parks Stephenson posted in the THS forum and refrain from any further speculation on this matter, and keep Carl's family in my thoughts. The Titanic community lost a good friend, but his family lost a husband and father.
 
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Michael,

I have been fortunate to call Carl a friend ever since we met on the Titanic 2003 expedition, and I have been deeply shaken by his loss.

I am also well aware of the facts concerning all three of the diver fatalities you mentioned in your post. Be advised, each of the divers was wearing a different model of rebreather, each made by a separate manufacturer, and in none of the cases has a cause of death been conclusively determined. In at least one instance, the model of rebreather was incorrectly reported by an Internet "news" site, along with equally incorrect and gratuitous remarks about high profit margins, for no apparent reason other than to mislead grieving family members, and maybe a few plaintiff's lawyers, who may be searching for answers.

Nobody knows for sure what caused these divers to tragically lose their dives, whether it was equipment failure, diver error or just plain bad luck. However, the family members do read these forums, and rank speculation or inappropriate discussion only adds to their grief.

There are three families who have lost loved ones this week, as well as hundreds of divers who have lost dear friends. I would ask that everybody keep this in mind when they are considering what to write in their posts.

Thank you,

David Concannon
 
>>Be advised, each of the divers was wearing a different model of rebreather, each made by a separate manufacturer, and in none of the cases has a cause of death been conclusively determined.<<

And predictably, the newsies got it wrong.

>>However, the family members do read these forums, and rank speculation or inappropriate discussion only adds to their grief.<<

Which is why I'm stepping away from all of that. It's enough for me to know that a serious investigation is being carried out by people who actually know what they're doing.

David, I hope you'll accept my condolances on the loss of a good friend and I'll extend the same to any of their family.
 
Michael,

Please excuse the sharpness of my earlier post. This has been a long week.

I get really angry when I see outright lies posted as truth, for no other reason than to stir up controversy or increase traffic to a web site. The fact is, these accidents will be thoroughly investigated, with no stone left unturned, and only after the truth is known will it be appropriate to discuss what is learned.

In Carl's case, some of the most knowledgeable technical divers in the world are sitting in Greece, trying to determine exactly what happened to their good friend and expedition leader. They want answers just as much as anybody else does, and maybe more so. It is absolutely inappropriate to speculate from afar, without being aware of even the most basic facts. It is also disrespectful to the family and to the deceased, and it is inconsiderate.

I am not saying you have done any of these things Michael. My only point is that all of us should be considerate before we post.

Best regards,

David
 
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