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Diving Safety, Accidents and Incidents Post here to discuss accidents, incidents, ideas, gear, or anything else to improve spearfishing safety. Memorials and condolences threads should be placed in that separate forum.

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Old 08-06-2017, 07:21 AM   #1
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Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

A video from a recent solo dive. Supposedly the regulator had been serviced within about 2 years. No leaks, intermediate pressure was perfect, seemed to perform perfectly and used the regulator for 3 dives last weekend in 75-90 ft.

I was at about 180 feet and there was a huge explosion. Very loud, the Go Pro cameras do not capture the audio of explosions accurately at all. In any case, zero apparent warning and then bang and a huge air loss. I assumed a LP hose exploded, I had around 2400 psi at the time and had been down about 8 minutes at a depth of 160 to 170' or so. I had a 120 cu-ft steel tank and small pony bottle.

I was pretty much freaked out and instantly laid on the inflator and just continued to use the regulator. I could get air, but could feel increasing resistance as a huge amount of air was lost.

I switched over to a 13 cu-ft pony bottle and then shut the main tank down because I didn't want water inside the regulator or tank. I was ascending way faster than my bubbles and slowed down a lot around 70 feet and deployed my surface marker from a reel (since this was a drifting dive).

Video doesn't show it, but my compass (which also worked last weekend) was really screwed up and I was lost and there was so little current on the bottom, I was pretty much guessing which way to go. I was dropped around 600 ft from my target and had planned on drifting into it. Another "problem" with the dive.

I had the pony bottle second stage on a necklace strap, but I never thought about this before, but it was really hard to purge the reg into the bag when the reg is held tightly to my neck. I did not have air to waste, so after one quick try with the purge button, I just exhaled into the bag with the regulator out of my mouth and sent it up.

I was right at my No-Deco limit, so I didn't try to hang that long and as I approached the surface, I found a long shallow fishing line on my marker that I assumed must be from some other boat trolling or drift fishing. I was concerned about being hooked. (another "problem")

So to make the dive even more eventful, I ascend to find the dive boat was wrapped up with a ton of fishing line and my boat was dragging the fishing line - not a fisherman.

Pretty damn scary! Took it to the shop and the technician took it apart and showed me the blown out diaphram in the Zeagle DS-IV model. Inside looked perfect, no corrosion. The external plastic sealing cap was completely missing from the explosion. Tank was nearly empty when we checked on the boat.

https://youtu.be/AqKUUrlK2tM


Last edited by jfjf; 08-10-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:32 AM   #2
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Had the almost exact thing happen to me a month ago. Luckily mine was on the pony bottle and not the main. Pony was only half full. Loud bang just like your incident. Immediately inflated BC, then checked PG and saw main pressure was holding. Did a lazy ascent due to no pony. Complete diaphragm failure.

In all the diving I've done using Zeagle regulators exclusively, this is the first catastrophic failure I've encountered.

When we did a rebuild on the reg, it was def a diaphragm failure. Not good.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Wow, very scary situation when that happens, especially in 160 plus depths. What typically causes diaphram failure in a regulator. Any idea what may have caused the failure in each of your cases?
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

You could have turned the tank valve off and on slightly as you breathed in and out to conserve the air. But with that said you did just fine. Something to think about.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:48 AM   #5
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Wow. Glad you're ok. What a cluster F on all fronts. Looks like you had a shark hanging with you too.

Honest question... Do you think a 13 cu.ft. pony is the right size for that dive? Were you planning a deco dive? Seems like if you would have been deeper or later in the dive and the failure occurred you may not have had enough gas to satisfy a deco obligation. Not being critical, just curious what the plan was.

Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Bravo, you kept cold blooded.... I did not hear any scream..
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Old 08-06-2017, 02:10 PM   #7
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Here's a short video of mine blowing....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZD3...ature=youtu.be
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Old 08-06-2017, 02:27 PM   #8
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

I doubt Jim was doing a planned deco dive. Maybe he was, but I doubt it. Sounds like he was wearing a redundant system for safety. In which the 13 would usually be adequate for that type of dive.

It's tricky giving diving advice on a forumn like this due to the vast differences between the divers on ability, experience, gear, depth, etc., etc.

What might be a solid option for one guy during an "event" and be implemented with ease might get a more inexperienced diver injured or killed.

My advice is to get training and practice for bad events when you can. Learn to dive with a small pony and use it occasionally to get comfortable with it.

Safe seconds are fine when diving with a buddy but if you're soloing, a pony system can save your life.

Looked like Jim did a good job of not panicking and got out of a mess in good shape. Nice going.
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Old 08-06-2017, 03:22 PM   #9
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Mine was? Just a suggestion from experiance with conshelf freeflows while at depth. I have even finished a dive by controlling the flow out with the tank valve.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:11 PM   #10
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

I will order a pony tonight! Thanks for sharing.

Our local scuba shop is going out of business. Found a 13 cu ft pony for $40, in hydro. Bought the Oceanic first and second stage (current model) used, in great shape, for $100. Watched your video. Bought two stainless hose clamps for $5.00 each. The tank strap clamp I found at the local shop for $14.00 and a pressure gauge for the first stage for $10. All in for under $175 on a redundant air supply. Not a bad investment.

I was able to take the pony bottle out and test it. It seems to me it is a no brainer and a must have. Thanks again for sharing.

Last edited by Coos-spearo; 08-15-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:39 AM   #11
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coos-spearo View Post
I will order a pony tonight! Thanks for sharing.

Our local scuba shop is going out of business. Found a 13 cu ft pony for $40, in hydro. Bought the Oceanic first and second stage (current model) used, in great shape, for $100. Watched your video. Bought two stainless hose clamps for $5.00 each. The tank strap clamp I found at the local shop for $14.00 and a pressure gauge for the first stage for $10. All in for under $175 on a redundant air supply. Not a bad investment.

I was able to take the pony bottle out and test it. It seems to me it is a no brainer and a must have. Thanks again for sharing.
Good to hear that the incident brought about A positive change. It is really not that expensive to rig one up,.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:14 PM   #12
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Dan: Your video IS similar to mine. We can probably both agree that the go pro does not capture how loud it is. Your instincts appeared to be the same as mine...Proceed to exit IMMEDIATELY. You were also super calm and smart to grab the primary pressure gauge and monitor for a confirmation that it was only a stage bottle.

For me, I knew it was my primary just from the restriction in breathing effort. So I think my mindset was to use the leaking tank to get some air in the BC, get a few more breaths while I still could and then move to the bail out bottle, also securing the speargun was a priority for me.

James: I have done short deco dives with that small pony, telling myself if the main tank blows, I could get to the surface from 180 and probably do about 3 minutes of a stop. So somehow, I have rationalized this as "safe enough" for deco dives that are less than maybe 5-8 minutes deco. Assuming I could grab an oxygen bottle off the boat and go back down and probably be OK. Again, I am definitely NOT recommending this to anyone and there are no training agencies that would support this kind of planning.

My little accident sorta validated my assumptions, but I did come up fast. I could have hung at the safety stop for a little longer, but the horizontal fishing line had me confused and I thought maybe someone was going to be dragging a trolling lure through me, so I figured I should come to the surface and see what the hell was going on.

I just might start using a 30 cu-ft pony for short planned deco dives. I have to admit, it was a very uncomfortable feeling at the start of that ascent and was very glad to see that I was NOT in deco yet. Plus, I have no gauge on the pony that I can read underwater, so you really can not be sure what air you have left for the ascent.

I rarely do "real" decompression dives, but if I do, then I will generally carry a small third bottle (of oxygen or 80%). With three tanks, I should be able to complete the deco with loss of any one bottle and in some scenarios, the loss of two bottles.

If anything, the two incidents should not be perceived as promoting aggressive diving, but rather to allow others to seriously think how, in less than one second, a dive can turn from complete control to life threatening - and what options they have if this occurs.

I think I may go back to piston first stages, which I have been using for a long time. Never had a scuba pro freaking EXPLODE!
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:49 PM   #13
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Damn.. that was gonna be a sweet dive. You made the best out of a shitty situation. Tight work.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:21 PM   #14
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Yep it was much louder than the go pro audio indicated.

Like SeaLark said, using the tank valve as a on/off control is a great way to go in some cases. He's done it, I've done it, and I'm sure we both know a few other older divers that have done it. The equipment we had 30 years ago wasn't near as good as today's and you just did what you had to do.

It can be tough for older/heavier divers to reach over their back and control the main's valve. For some, it might be better to shuck the pack and bring it around up front. That would allow easy access to the valve.

However, everybody has different levels of skill and in a tight situation, you don't want to swing the pack around and really make things worse by dropping it or some such. A little forethought about "your" plan of action before a major problem will go a long way.

I really believe that a small redundant pony system for solo diving is the smartest way to go. Going to a 30cf tank could be the right choice for some but the bigger/heavier/bulkier it is translates to a bigger pita to wear and chances are if it's a pita it won't get worn.

The Luxfer 13 -14 or 19's are all good choices for a pony system. I prefer the 14's as they achieve their rated CF at 2015PSI instead of 3000PSI like the 13 and 19CF models. They're also more buoyant than the 3000psi models which may be a good thing if you're wearing a steel main. One other nice thing about the 2015psi model is that it's much easier to top something to 2015 than to 3000.

It's also highly desirable to keep the same type of tank valves on both tanks. Either both yokes or both din's.

I own a lot of Zeagle regulators and have never had a blow out before. Hopefully it won't happen again.

Safe Diving, Dan
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:42 PM   #15
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Re: Zeagle Regulator Blows at 180 ft

Thanks Dan...I've seen a lot of people buy 30 cu-ft ponies and then just leave them on the boat. A 13 got me from 180 to the surface, so it should be reasonable for recreational depths and within the no-deco limit.

I made a video a while ago about how to make a cheap and simple back mount that works with any BC and any tank and uses no special hardware.

https://youtu.be/j0sdSL-ng-g

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