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Mark Longstreath

Kevin S Sass, GOM, 1995

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The following is part of an email received regarding this incident. Other parts have been removed to protect the identity of the emailer:

 

“At the time of his death, Kevin had been on a jetting job. They were either searching for a pipe or a valve. I do not recall the location. 

The trench had been jetted out 20 or so feet below natural bottom. It had not been done very well because they had already experienced some collapses of the wall on either side during the operation. At some point during Kevin's dive he experienced a collapse that resulted in his being completely buried. 

 

Under most circumstances this would not be an issue. One merely "jets" themselves out of the hole and then re-jets the collapsed portion of the trench. Unfortunately, Kevin broke the cardinal rule for jet blasting. He failed to secure the jet nozzle to his wrist with some polyline. 

 

The shock of being struck by the collapse caused him to drop the jet nozzle and it subsequently jetted itself away from him. Two standby divers were utilized to attempt a rescue but were unsuccessful as the material filled in faster than they could jet it away. Kevin was conscious and speaking for a time, but when he finally stopped responding it was decided to "yank" him forcibly out of the trench. 

 

Kevin's umbilical was attached to the crane hook and he was pulled out of the hole. It is a little fuzzy here what happened when they got him to the surface but all attempts at first aid failed. 

 

One point that stuck out was that upon pulling him out of the hole with the crane, his umbilical slipped through the seizing at the QD and subsequently pulled his head down almost to the QD resulting in a broken neck. 

 

Whether or not Kevin was still alive at that point can only be speculated without an autopsy report and I am not aware that one was ever made public. Needless to say, had he still been alive at the time of being "yanked" out of the hole, he certainly would not have been after that.

 

I am certain that if pursued, an autopsy report could reveal the actual cause of death, but this highlights how important it is to pay attention to the little things. For the want of a four foot piece of polyline, my friend lost his life, I lost a friend, a family lost a fine son, and a fiancé lost a husband.”

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