Author Topic: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation  (Read 5394 times)

MSD

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BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« on: August 30, 2006, 07:05:28 pm »
Over the last week a cave diving recovery operation has been underway at Plura, Norway. This follows the loss of a cave diver on 16th August.

The operation was quite complicated, involving dives to 70m deep, 1200m in. Lead divers were Rick Stanton and Jason Mallinson, who travelled over from Britain. Deep diving controller was Mark Dougherty (MSD to you folks), who travelled from Sweden, togther with Nicklas Myrin who acted as my driver/assistent/dogsbody and general all-round good chap. Further diving support was provided by the Nordic Technical divers. Surface support and logistics was coordinated by the Norwegian Cave Rescue, with considerable support from the police, fire service, civil defense etc.

The British contingent was officially called out via the British Cave Rescue Council. However, this was much more than a paperwork exercise. Bill Whitehouse (chair, BCRC) was a tower of strength in helping me organise the operation. The CRO from Calpham sent two pairs of Heyphones for communication to an airbell half-way into the system and they proved invaluable.

Many other cavers from the UK gave me help and advice - John Cordingley, Mike Jeanmaire, Dave Gallivan, Dave Gibson, Dave Brock, Pete Allwright and probably one or two people I have forgotten. In addition John Volanthen and Rupert Skorupka were on standby to join the team if reinforcements were needed.

The operation was a success and the deceased made the final journey home accompanied by his family.

Thanks to everybody who helped out on this one. It was quite fantastic how everybody rallied around. I'll obviously be back with more details about the accident itself, but only after the formal proceedings are complete.

Mark

Offline SamT

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2006, 11:15:50 am »
 :bow:

Major respect to anyone who gets involved in anything like that.
A grim task.
Good effort everyone - you have my respect.

And goes without saying - condolences to anyone involved with the deceased.

Prince of Darkness

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2006, 12:08:17 pm »
Probably should have made the national news, not sure why it hasn't.

Offline racingsnake

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2006, 12:25:26 pm »
Well done chaps. Top effort
 And condolances to a fellow cavers family

d
What do we want "Procrastination"
When do we want it
Some time next week maybe

RM

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2006, 12:49:28 pm »
echo whats said above

Very good effort guys

Condolances to the family

At least now they can greive in peace

MSD

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2006, 06:23:43 pm »
In my earlier post I forgot to mention that there was also a team of 6 on standby in France (2 deep divers, 2 support divers and 2 surface support). I was very impressed with how well they were able to respond to an international callout and I felt very comfortable with this backup.

Mark

Offline racingsnake

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 09:23:43 am »
Mark

How and who co-ordinated the whole thing. for eg who put the french on stand-by etc

D
What do we want "Procrastination"
When do we want it
Some time next week maybe

MSD

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2006, 12:41:08 pm »
I was team leader for the deep diving team. So it was my request concerning the stand-by teams. Of course I was just part of a bigger machinery. There was another surface controller for the support divers, an underground communications team and a chief controller (in this case a fire chief) coordinating all of the operational activties. Added to this you have surface support and logistics (organsing things like food, electrical power, living quarters, indoor briefing space, transport etc.) and a medical support team with recompression facilities. Above that you have the police with both an overall responsibility for the operation (that's also just the same as in Britain) plus specialist forensic staff who took over outside of the cave.

On a very formal basis, an international call-out has to be arranged through Interpol. So the international call-out and putting other divers on standby initiated from me (after discussion with the Norwegian Cave Rescue, which is also a voluntary body just like in Britain), went up the chain of command to the Norwegian police, through Interpol and back down the respective channels in Britain and France, arriving at the Britsh Cave Rescue Council and Speleo Secours Francais. Of course there was a lot of informal contact going on in parallel, by the time the formal request came the operation was already planned in detail. But it's good for everybody to know roughly how these things work, you never quite know when you might be in a similar emergency yourself.

I guess there were about 40 people involved. That's pretty normal for a complex rescue or recovery operation.

Mark

Offline racingsnake

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2006, 01:19:02 pm »
Thanks for the reply mark. I am sure loads of us find this interesting and a great re-assurance that guys like you are there when the terrible happens. Do you think that the experience gained from this would spur you on to help in other emergencies eg natural disasters and the like ???



D
What do we want "Procrastination"
When do we want it
Some time next week maybe

Offline Mark

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2006, 02:25:38 pm »
Good effort lads,

Be careful all you bubble blowers, dont stick your necks out too far.

MSD

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Re: BCRC helps out in Norwegian recovery operation
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2006, 12:54:36 pm »
Thanks for the reply mark. I am sure loads of us find this interesting and a great re-assurance that guys like you are there when the terrible happens. Do you think that the experience gained from this would spur you on to help in other emergencies eg natural disasters and the like ???

It's interesting and valuable work, but I don't think my employer would be too keen on me doing this sort of thing on a regular basis!

Mark