Curiosity about a huge underwater structure got this diver into a bit of trouble with Delta-P.
This post is serves as a warning about the importance of avoiding unknown underwater structures. It documents a divers experience with the potentially deadly forces associated with undetectable underwater flows through small areas. These occurrences are referred to as delta-p. Known among commercial divers, but relatively unknown among recreation divers., delta-p is something every diver should be aware of.
While boating and scuba diving off the coast of St. Lucie County Florida with friends a scuba diver, Robert Blake, decided to check out what looked like a large structure underwater. They tied their boat to a buoy and he and his buddy went down to check it out. As Chris approached the structure, he felt a little bit of a current, then all of a sudden he got sucked in. This situation is very similar to the Delta P issues faced by commercial divers when water at differing pressures try to equalize causing a current that sucks them in, often trapping them.
He was sucked into a pipe which pulls in about 500,000 gallons of ocean water per minute. It was a 4-5 minute scare of a lifetime anticipating an impact with the turbine. Fortunately there was no turbine and he emerged in a water holding reservoir where he flagged down an employee.
“I kind of felt like I got sucked over a waterfall and just instantly complete darkness. I was getting tumbled around and around. I’m trying to hold onto my mask and my regulator. I finally get ahold of my light and I’m trying to look around. As far as you can see, it’s just black,” Le Cun explained.
FPL says the pipe Christopher was in is 16 feet across, about a quarter-mile long, sucks in around 500,000 gallons of water per minute and is used to cool the plant’s nuclear reactors.
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