Close this search box.

Byford Dolphin Accident: What Exactly Happened in This Tragedy?

  • March 18, 2024
  • 5 min read
Byford Dolphin Accident: What Exactly Happened in This Tragedy?

The Byford dolphin accident is a disastrous reminder of the risks faced by divers. To conduct offshore oil and gas operations, equipment requirements and maintenance at life-threatening depths are essential. Evidently, often required beyond 50 metres in the direction of the seafloor. For this reason, the divers reach this extreme into the dark blue, they must run down and come up extremely carefully. Further, taking time to eliminate each small extension to avoid terrible situations. In this article, we are going to provide you with a brief analysis of one of the most tragic calamities in commercial living. Therefore, reading this article till the end is a must to read to get to know about this tragedy. Hence let’s start this article ahead.

Diving bell accident

On November 5, 1983, at 4: 00 AM, through drilling in the Frigg gas field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Further, the four divers were in the diving chamber on the rig deck connected by a trunk to a diving bell. The names of four divers are Arthur Coward, Roy P. Lucas, Bjorn Giaever Bergersen, and Truls Hellevik. Additionally, they were assisted by two divers named William Crammond and Martin Saunders. At the time of the accident, chamber number 1 and 2 of decompression along with 3 but that time it was not usable. They were connected with a trunk to a diving bell.

The connection made by the trunk was sealed by a lock functioned by Saunders and Crammond. Furthermore, they were professional and experienced divers. On the other hand, Coward and Lucas were resting in chamber number 2 at a 9 atmospheric level. Thereafter, the diving bell with Beregersen and Hellevik had been lifted up after a dive and combined with a trunk. However, both of the divers have left wet equipment in the trunk, and climber through the trunk into chamber 1.

What are the ordinary techniques should have been done?

Close the diving bell gate, which would have been open to the trunk.  

Somewhat raise the pressure on the diving bell to close the door securely.

After that, close the door of chamber 1, which also opens to the trunk.

Gradually depressurize the trunk until a pressure reaches at 1 atm.

Open the lock to detach the diving bell from the chamber system.

In that accident, the two steps were done when Crammind inaccurately opened the lock that kept the trunk sealed. Before Hellevik had closed the door to the chamber. However, this resulted in the chamber, decompressing from 9 atmospheres to the ambient external pressure of 1 atm. It leads to air hurrying out of the chamber with terrific force. Plus, it jammed the interior trunk door and pushed the bell away, unusual for the two tenders. This leads to all four divers being killed, but Saunders is brutally injured.

Medical findings: Byford dolphin accident

After that, medical investigations were passed out on the remains of four divers. Further, the most distinguished finding was the presence of fat in large amounts in arteries and veins and even in the cardiac chambers. Along with intravascular fat in organs, mainly in the liver. Plus, the fat was doubtful to be embolic but must have been caused by the blood. However, the autopsy recommended that bubble creation in the blood denatured the lipoprotein developments, interpreting the lipids as insoluble. These insoluble lipids probably stopped their circulation. The fourth diver died suddenly from gross dismemberment, the blast forced his body out through the somewhat jammed door. Coward, Lucas, and Begersen were uncovered to the properties of explosive decompression. They died in the positions shown in the diagram.

In addition, the investigation by Forensic pathologists showed that Hellevik died due to a high-pressure incline, in the procedure of moving to save the inner door. While he escaped air and pressure, it included the bisection of his thoracoabdominal cavity. Further, resulted in the destruction of his body along with the exclusion of all of the internal organs of his chest and abdomen. Except for the trachea section of the small intestine and of the thoracic spine.

Investigation: Byford dolphin accident

The commission investigating the accident concluded that it was caused by human error on the part of the dive tender who opened the lock. The trunk door had a centre hinge design that was similar to a butterfly valve disc. Plus, the door was rotated too far to the left. However, affecting the edge of the interior entrance to the cabin on the door opening. It created an opening that was 24 inches across horizontally. It is not clear that the lock was opened by the orders or depressurized did.

Byford dolphin accident
Byford dolphin accident

Final say!

In brief, we have talked about the Byford dolphin accident from the reason that could have this accident to the investigations. Truly, the information we have provided is accurate. Plus, if you have come this far by reading this article and found it informational then let us know with your comments. Toddles!

About Author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *