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#448452 - 10/10/12 01:09 PM Avoiding The Perils Of SCUBA Tanks
Marty Offline
Last night, 7News showed you the tragic accident of the well-known tour guide from the Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop. As we reported that around 4:45 pm yesterday, Hector Chapin Duran was fatally injured when the scuba tank he was filling ruptured - causing a major explosion which punctured his midsection and caused instant death. It happened at the Amigos Del Mar Dock.

The authorities still have not released any indications as to what caused the tank to explode in such a strange way. Today, we got a chance to speak to several employees of Fabrigas, a Belize City company that prides itself on international standards of safety.

Here's what they told us about the many things that could have gone wrong:

Ezquiel Ayala, Plant Manager - Fabrigas
"Many factors that can contribute to an accident at any filling stations. It can be the accuracy of the gauges; first of all my gauge is showing it is 3,000 but how accurate am I knowing that my gauge is reading 3,000 and actually it can be reading more, it can be reading less. I am not sure. We need to make sure, we need to verify our gauges from time to time and also we need to ensure that when filling we do not do what we call a fast fill. People tend to just come and say I want this fill and out of sudden it is not filled like that because the aluminum does not allow when heated for huge expansion - it will burst. It should be filled slightly. It takes time to fill yes but it's the safest way."

If a scuba exceeds 131 degrees Fahrenheit the probability that it explodes or it rupture is increase because we are not following the codes set by the governing bodies which are the CGA and PSI and all those bodies that regulate the scientific knowledge of the cylinders."

"Also it can be faulty equipment; compressor, maybe the compressor is not set in a limit that it will automatic shut off. For example ours - we can leave it running and when it reaches certain PSI it will automatically cut itself preventing cylinders from being overfilled in case you forget because we are just humans we can make mistakes."

According to the technicians at Fabrigas, the regulation of safety standards for scuba equipment in Belize has been lax, and there needs to be an active attempt by the relevant government authority to apply pressure to scuba diving industry.

Today, the management of the Amigos Del Mar sent out a press release in which they lament the death of Hector Duran. They categorically stated that they have cooperated with all relevant authorities with the investigation so far, and they will continue to do so.

According to them, Duran was a veteran employee of 20 years who will be sorely missed.

Channel 7


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#448491 - 10/10/12 05:59 PM Re: Avoiding The Perils Of SCUBA Tanks [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
Tanks should be regularly tested for integrity - hydro testing - and SCUBA tanks need to be tumbled and cleaned on the inside from time to time. The seals must be changed on a regular basis and valves can be faulty also.

Tanks should never be stored empty.

There are a lot of safety factors to consider when filling and maintaining tanks and Hector had been doing this work without incident for over 20 years. This was indeed a most tragic and devastating event.

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#448492 - 10/10/12 06:05 PM Re: Avoiding The Perils Of SCUBA Tanks [Re: Marty]
dabunk Offline
You can take shortcuts for only so long and then it catches up with you. Tanks are supposed to be stamped every 5 years I believe after hydrostatic testing. Doubt you will find even 50% of the tanks in Belize in compliance.

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