02 December 2005

Wales: Defective dry-suit valve caused divers death

A SCUBA diver suffocated after air escaped from his tanks, an inquest has heard. A coroner has now called for the diving equipment the father-of-four was using that tragic day to be taken out of use.

Former Allied Steel and Wire worker Tony Blake, from Llandaff, Cardiff, died during a routine dive off the coast of Pembrokeshire in August.

An inquest heard how his diving partner made frantic efforts to save the keen Cardiff City supporter but, despite being pulled to the surface and resuscitation attempts, the 50-year-old never regained consciousness.

Mr Blake's equipment was sent to the Health and Safety Executive for examination, and specialist Nicholas Bailey told the inquest: "The sealing cap and coupling for the dry suite inflation hose was pushed out of position when the driver tried to re-attach it.

"A different type of connector, which is readily available, would not have caused the catastrophic loss of gas."

Coroner Michael Howells said he would be writing to the authorities to request the type of connector used by Mr Blake be taken out of use.

"One of the duties of the coroner is to try to see if there are any measures that could prevent similar fatalities in the future," he said.

"It's clear that had there been a standard connector fitted, he might have had difficulties, but I don’t think he would have died."

Mr Blake worked at the Gabalfa Day Centre, and previously at Cardiff-based ASW for 26 years.

He left a wife Kathryn, son Carl, daughter Sara, both in their twenties, and teenagers Mark and Lorraine.

Source: icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/capitalcity/news


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