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Emergency Ascent
BeachBubbles - 8/22/2007 2:08 PM
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Category: Educational
Comments: 4
Emergency AscentI`ve been thinking about this ever since that guy died last weekend after diving the Oriskany (see Oriskany Death). I still don`t know any details other than what was on the news.

Popular speculation is that he suffered an embolism while coming up too fast... dunno.

So anyway, I was wondering, do you bother to clear your ears at all during an emergency ascent?


wpbdiver - 8/24/2007 11:01 AM
An emergency ascent is just that, an emergency! No buddies nearby, no other options. It is not something one plans on, but how to do it can save your life. Stay calm, do you have enough air in your lungs to swim to the surface? Any breaths left in your tank (probably not). Drop your weights!! Arms over your head, as you ascend; the air remaining in your lungs (residual capacity) will expand greatly. It is imperative to exhale the entire ascent to prevent pneumothorax from occurring. If you witness an emergency ascent or are lucky to still be conscious after performing one, high concentration oxygen should be administered (even breathing 36% nitrox is good if no other source is available) and DAN should be notified immediately for advice and or help. Lay the diver on the deck on their side to prevent aspiration and if consciousness is suddenly lost. Immediate (debate it later) and rapid transport to the nearest chamber will at best be over cautious, at the worst, well.....
DalelynnSims - 8/23/2007 7:20 AM
Apart from planning your dive, gas management and sticking close to your buddy, all which likely could have prevented this from occurring, an emergency ascent done correctly does assist in preventing the reverse block or pressure that you’re speaking of. Normally the pressure escapes easier during ascent.

As most likely recall ESA is accomplished with all equipment in place, might get something from the regulator and sucking nothing is better than sucking water, looking up with arms up helps maintain an open airway and stretch the neck to allow the ears to clear easily. So there is a good reason for learning to perform it in the correct fashion.

Now I pray that none of you ever have to use this information.

Dive S.A.F.E. and Best Fishes!! [
imascubaholic - 8/22/2007 8:44 PM
Greg`s correct - you ascend slowly and let the air escape. If the pressure gets bad you stop your ascent or descend slightly and start back up slowly. This is not something you would do in an emergency. But like I said in my email - people don`t usually have as hard of a time on the way up. It`s important to plan your dive and dive your plan. Hopefully you`ll never have to do an emergency ascent. Before doing deep dives make sure you have your buoyancy under good control. Also watch your air consumption since you`ll be using more air. I haven`t heard the details about the latest Oriskany incident either. D
Greg - 8/22/2007 8:15 PM
If it`s truly an emergecny ascent, I don`t think you would be worried about your ears. Besides, there is`nt really anything you can do on an ascent to clear your ears except ascend slowly and give the air time to work it`s way out. An emergency ascent is usually done fairly quickly so your ears might suffer some damage.