ron akeson

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rjw
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ron akeson

Post by rjw » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:34 pm

It's time for a post script to this story. It has been a struggle to find the words to effectively communicate our findings. Ron was a long time friend of almost 2 decades and many dive adventures spanning from Canada to Bikini Atoll.

As best we can tell Ron succumbed to an oxygen toxicity event on a fairly benign & routine dive with 2 rebreather students. Dive was not in technical depths and planned with minimal deco.

We (MDS) conducted the initial inspection of Ron's gear as soon as we were given access to it from his family. This was approx 4 weeks after his accident. His RB was assembled correctly and passed all pre dive checks, gasses analyzed, scrubber was ISC 8lb radial. We have no idea how much actual time was on the scrubber. However after doing some research approx 3hrs was the number we settled on. So no real smoking gun initially.

We encountered some reluctance by Ron's family to let us conduct a wet test. The primary concern was our safety. We finally secured permission to dive his unit in "as is" condition to assess it's operation. After talking to a few people close to Ron we discovered that he had been having issues with a cell getting voted out. He had done several dives with it and was trying to troubleshoot the issue. Our assessment post dive was that 2 cells were current limited and the suspect cell was the most accurate. This was conducted by doing an O2 flush in approx 20-25fsw. This test was conducted approx 8 weeks post accident. We have no way of determining how much cell deterioration took place between accident and test. It was very obvious during the wet test. It would be unlikely that a diver with this experience level wouldn't have been able to sort this out. There would have been several things that would have indicated that something was wrong.

We researched the S/N of the cells he had installed and they were not the most recent he had purchased.
Here's where it gets a bit complicated. In our opinion knowing Ron his decision to dive that day was a business decision & not a diving decision. He never had a problem calling a dive on a deep wreck. It had happened 2 weeks prior over the Admiral Sampson. He just didn't feel right and sat out both days. No amount of talk could have changed his mind. But his store had been having a difficult winter and with spring approaching things were picking up. He mainly taught RB & tech students and he was getting busy. Then he came down with a vicious flu the week of the accident, and he needed to finish up his current students to move on to the next. So the moment he felt he was able he went diving. As it turned out it was way too soon.

We won't go into much detail about the dive other than it was 30 min into a planned 130' at Muk (depth & time are approx). The 2 students did a good job of getting him to the surface and the beach where paramedics could attend him.

On the accident dive the higher po2 than he thought combined with being physically diminished from the flu along with being very dehydrated (confirmed by hospital staff) most likely brought on this O2 event.

If even one of those things had been different I probably wouldn't be posting this.

Initially this was hard to accept. But the simplest answer is usually the correct one. After all the long and deep stuff. A simple class dive comes along.............
Hope this answers most questions.
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Desert Diver
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Re: ron akeson

Post by Desert Diver » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:16 pm

Thank you

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Re: ron akeson

Post by Rockfish » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:51 pm

Thanks for posting this I can only imagine how difficult this was for you and group to do.
I think it is important for all of us to be able to learn from this tragedy. Ron in his untimely passing has given us one final lesson. He was an instructor to the end.

Mike

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Joshua Smith
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Re: ron akeson

Post by Joshua Smith » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:42 pm

Thank you for posting this, Rob. And thanks for your kind words, Rockfish and Desert Diver.

RIP Ron- we miss you.
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Scubie Doo
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Re: ron akeson

Post by Scubie Doo » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:50 pm

Agreed, thanks for sharing this. It means a lot to those of us who never got the chance to meet Ron in person.

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lamont
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Re: ron akeson

Post by lamont » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:24 pm

+1 thanks for the report. Rough job to go through.

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Jeff Pack
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Re: ron akeson

Post by Jeff Pack » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:45 pm

I still wonder perhaps since he got sick after the last dive and laid up for 2 days, whether he actually toxed on that dive, just not bad enough to seize, since it was a shorter open water dive, and not really the flu like he thought.

Another thing learned from this incident. Dont count on the paramedics to accurately pass info to ER personnel. I spoke with the head of the Paramedics later about this and we had a long talk about some flaws in their procedures. They should have had one person collecting info. That has changed I'm told. Another interesting point, is they take notes on their gloves. The reason being anything written has to be kept for 7 years, on gloves they need not keep records.

RIP Ron, you are surely missed.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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LCF
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Re: ron akeson

Post by LCF » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:57 pm

It's interesting that he said he was having problems with a cell, and the testing showed two of the three were faulty.

I read a very good article a number of years ago, by Andrew Ainslie, talking about voting logic. He was dubious that just going with the majority vote on three cells was safe enough, and his suggestion was to base one's deco off the cell showing the lowest O2 percentage, and one's ox-tox risk/time off the cell showing the highest. If you do that, you will ALWAYS be safe, although you may be overly conservative on one end or the other.

To my knowledge, no one uses Andrew's approach, although to me, it seemed so logical that it's hard to understand why they don't.
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Re: ron akeson

Post by CaptnJack » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:29 am

LCF wrote:It's interesting that he said he was having problems with a cell, and the testing showed two of the three were faulty.

I read a very good article a number of years ago, by Andrew Ainslie, talking about voting logic. He was dubious that just going with the majority vote on three cells was safe enough, and his suggestion was to base one's deco off the cell showing the lowest O2 percentage, and one's ox-tox risk/time off the cell showing the highest. If you do that, you will ALWAYS be safe, although you may be overly conservative on one end or the other.

To my knowledge, no one uses Andrew's approach, although to me, it seemed so logical that it's hard to understand why they don't.


Because you don't want to drive a eCCR (or even an mCCR with your brain) off the mV output of one cell. There isn't always one high, middle and low either. They can switch places slightly as one lags the others etc.

It is possible to detect and diagnose that you have 2 bad cells and one more accurate cell as Rob and others did after the fact. Its also possible to do this on a dive although its a bit more challenging at depths below 20-25ft when you have more to do as well. Do you know the cell ages from the serial numbers Rob?

I heard about Ron's death in MOD1 and its truly sad that he had cells and didn't swap them beforehand. Thanks for taking the time and mental energy to write that down.

Richard
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rjw
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Re: ron akeson

Post by rjw » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:22 am

CaptnJack wrote:
LCF wrote:It's interesting that he said he was having problems with a cell, and the testing showed two of the three were faulty.

I read a very good article a number of years ago, by Andrew Ainslie, talking about voting logic. He was dubious that just going with the majority vote on three cells was safe enough, and his suggestion was to base one's deco off the cell showing the lowest O2 percentage, and one's ox-tox risk/time off the cell showing the highest. If you do that, you will ALWAYS be safe, although you may be overly conservative on one end or the other.

To my knowledge, no one uses Andrew's approach, although to me, it seemed so logical that it's hard to understand why they don't.


Because you don't want to drive a eCCR (or even an mCCR with your brain) off the mV output of one cell. There isn't always one high, middle and low either. They can switch places slightly as one lags the others etc.

It is possible to detect and diagnose that you have 2 bad cells and one more accurate cell as Rob and others did after the fact. Its also possible to do this on a dive although its a bit more challenging at depths below 20-25ft when you have more to do as well. Do you know the cell ages from the serial numbers Rob?

I heard about Ron's death in MOD1 and its truly sad that he had cells and didn't swap them beforehand. Thanks for taking the time and mental energy to write that down.

Richard


ISC provided purchase dates on the cells. Even with that purchase info we could find no record of when they were actually installed. In our initial investigation we checked the calibration and all 3 tracked up to 1.0 with none being voted out on the way up or back down to .21. It was only during the wet test (1.6) that this failure became obvious. IMHO it was unlikely he saw the same thing we did given the time that was allowed to elapse. If I had to GUESS ( I hate to speculate) it was enough to get voted out but not enough to concern him. WE have no idea what set point he used on that dive. This may or may not have been obvious.
Personally I feel his physical condition was much more of a factor. He was SICK when I talked to him earlier that week. Flat on his back, cant sit up without puking sick. When I got the call I was surprised he was even up and around given his condition of a few days prior.
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Jeff Pack
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Re: ron akeson

Post by Jeff Pack » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:21 pm

On the shore, his cells were .79/.91/1.02. I dont recall the set point when I flipped it to manual, Cell 1 was voted out.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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CaptnJack
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Re: ron akeson

Post by CaptnJack » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:31 am

I have only heard rumors about the cell age (from purchase, not necessarily months of use). Personally I don't have any spare cells right now although I might buy one for travel purposes this summer. Did Ron tend to keep some on the shelf? Guess I'd still like to know the purchase to accident date time on the failed cells as I have heard various somewhat data weak statements about old vs new cell failures rates and failure vs time. Were they all ISC Vandegraphs or something else?

I don't understand the reasoning behind moving a suspect cell around? Is this a common practice I'm not aware of?
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rjw
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Re: ron akeson

Post by rjw » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:01 am

CaptnJack wrote:I have only heard rumors about the cell age (from purchase, not necessarily months of use). Personally I don't have any spare cells right now although I might buy one for travel purposes this summer. Did Ron tend to keep some on the shelf? Guess I'd still like to know the purchase to accident date time on the failed cells as I have heard various somewhat data weak statements about old vs new cell failures rates and failure vs time. Were they all ISC Vandegraphs or something else?

I don't understand the reasoning behind moving a suspect cell around? Is this a common practice I'm not aware of?


There seems to be a lot of concern on age of his cells. I don't know about any rumors I guess there always will be present in an event such as this. Unfortunately I passed these to another team member who did the research on them. So I don't have this info readily available. Ron used his equip very regularly so I can't imagine they would be very old. However I may be in error.
Being a fairly new RB diver I can understand your concern. I will go over our records and see if I can provide this info to you. Personally I have had new cells fail early when others have lasted way longer than they were supposed to. So my concern isn't so much with age as performance.
FWIW after our first wet test we installed a set of old Teledynes (what we had available). These still checked strong in the tester. The unit functioned fine with these cells.
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CaptnJack
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Re: ron akeson

Post by CaptnJack » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:19 am

Thanks
I did buy a mini cell checker with molex head for just this kind of scenario - hearing about Ron in class didn't help. I decided to keep the cell checker in my back pocket so to speak - if I have doubts about the cells. I don't attempt to track cell performance with it over months. In January I replaced the set that was in the MDS unit I got from you guys even though they probably only had 50 hrs on them total over 2014. I decided they were a year old and I shouldn't slide on that rule. The 3 new ones are a lot less consistent than the originals that were in there. They calibrate fine but one will be a bit higher than the others throughout a dive.

I'm guessing Ron didn't have a cell checker or pressure pot he could have tested his cells between the two dives when they started behaving weirdly to him? Although from the sounds of it he might have been too sick to motivate to use one.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

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