Curious Dive Accident
A diver who suffered a serious chemical burn when diving believes that his calm reaction had saved his life.
On that fateful day, English diver and underwater photographer Gavin Anderson had stuck a therapeutic heat pad on his back before entering the water. For this dive, he had decided to dive nitrox instead of using the standard compressed air tanks.
During the dive, when he vented gas from his drysuit, "something" in the heat pad reacted with the nitrox. He said, "I was at 50 metres (164 feet) when it started to burn and I had to come up slowly. The problem was it continued to burn as I was coming up."
The inshore lifeboat brought paramedic shore crew member Morag Morris to tend to Anderson's burns. However, Anderson's wound was so severe that he was hospitalised. Although he has since been discharged, he would still need to get a skin graft.
Anderson's injury may be unusual, but it is certainly something to keep in mind. Perhaps a precautionary note about adverse reactions with nitrox should be added to the instruction leaflets of heat pad products?
Editorial comment: we have clarified depth (160ft / 50mt) and the usage of Nitrox. Why Nitrox has been used in this depth is not known; it is definitely no depth for Nitrox.