Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Shipwreck Scuba Divers Hurt by Trapped Air Explosion

Wreck diving can be -- and is -- extremely exciting and rewarding. However, divers must never forget that underwater wrecks bring a whole new set of risks to the table.

Two divers involved in the salvaging of a sunken cargo vessel in Culasi town in Antique were taken to the hospital Monday after being hit by trapped air from one of the vessel's compartments.

Primitivo Morales and Rodel Lazaro were given medical treatment first at the Culasi District Hospital and later confined at the Aklan provincial hospital in the capital town of Kalibo after they complained of difficulty of breathing, Coast Guard Western Visayas District commander Commodore William Melad said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Melad said the two divers were less than 30 feet under water and were boring holes on a compartment of the M/V Ocean Papa when an explosion-type force knocked them off.

“Trapped air or pressure inside the compartment could have been released when the holes were bored,” said Melad.

Aside from difficulty of breathing, the divers suffered no other injuries.

Lazaro is set to be released from the hospital after undergoing observation but Morales will still be confined because he was found to be already suffering from diabetes and a previous respiratory ailment.

The divers are part of a 10-member salvaging team of the CV Gaspar Salvage and Lighterage Company that has been cutting up the vessel into pieces and transported to the shore.

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