Skip to content

Diver in the bell hit by falling object

What happened?

A diver in the diving bell was hit and slightly injured by a water bottle containing a gallon of water (4.5kg). Diver #1 left the bell and was handing over to the next bellman. In the bell the remaining divers were organizing their gear before departing the bell. They were moving a partially frozen one gallon water bottles when a handle on a water bottle broke and the bottle fell into the transfer lock striking the diver #1 on left side of his head and then onto his shoulder.

The diver received medical attention; he had an abrasion on his head and a red mark on his shoulder. He was able to continue the Sat run reporting only minor soreness over two days, eventually back to normal.

What went wrong?

The handle of the frozen water bottle broke and fell on the diver standing at the bottom of the transfer lock.

What was the cause?

The bell temperature was elevated due to shallow water diving and the bell being well insulated. Divers were bringing in frozen bottles of water to help lower the internal temperature.

Lessons learned and action:

  • Our member noted the following:
  • Deviation from procedure, no matter how minimal has the potential to trigger an event leading to accident;
  • No risk assessment was completed for this change in operation;
  • A “Hazard Hunt” was initiated – focusing on routine tasks;
  • Arrangements were started for installing a diving bell chiller to regulate higher temperatures;
  • Updated a Management of Change process and risk assessment for continued use of frozen bottles as a short-term solution, focusing specifically on proper securement and material handling to prevent dropped objects.

Members may wish to refer to the following, all relating to issues inside the bell:

Safety Event

Published: 9 January 2024
Download: IMCA SF 01/24

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.