Author Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor  (Read 23240 times)

Online LarryFatcat

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2008, 03:07:28 pm »
Does anyone know if there is an accurate survey of the mine, and if so where is it published?
Nick, I have just emailed you the information that LarryFatCat distributed by email a few weeks ago. Includes surveys and descriptions.
Thanks, saved me digging it out again.

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2008, 03:14:18 pm »
Hi all

I was one of the cavers that survived the Long Rake trip on the recent bank holiday weekend. All was well until we reached pitch 5 where we began to experience headaches, nausea and tiredness around the area of the dig. We realised that we had been affected by bad air after exploring the area for some time. We tried to ascend as quickly as possible but were increasingly overcome by extreme tiredness and nausea. This got worse on ascent when we began 'gulping air' every couple of metres or so up the rope(s). We returned to the surface about 9 hours (roughly 2015 hrs) after descending; late but under the circumstances happy to have made it. On the way home nausea turned to vomiting and we were taken to hospital around midnight where we were kept on 100% O2 until 0600-0700 hrs. I can confirm that the hospital carried out blood gas checks on us and reported 10% Carbon Monoxide in our blood some four hours or so after we exited the system.

These are the facts. I hope they are useful to those that wish to learn from our experience. Before anyone asks, we are trained, experienced and enthusiastic cavers.

I also hope that DCA and others discover what is going on in Long Rake but for the meantime I agree that it is very unwise for individuals to explore the site.

Best wishes and be safe

Tony

Online LarryFatcat

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Re: Do not descend Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor until further notice
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2008, 03:14:42 pm »
Ive got a triple gas detector on hire at the moment, would test for carbon monoxide, h2s and co2, if any one wants to go down and take this with them, it would alarm on the first traces of carbon monoxide, I need it back sunday though.

If I wanted to take you up on the offer, where would we pick up and drop it off on Sunday?

PM me.

Offline Cave_Troll

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2008, 04:59:28 pm »
you might want to liase with the DCA. If the farmer is not allowing access at the moment, if you just turn up with a gas detector, you might screw things up for the people from DCA who may be going down to investigate on monday for example.

Offline Mark

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Re: Do not descend Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor until further notice
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2008, 05:46:50 pm »


If I wanted to take you up on the offer, where would we pick up and drop it off on Sunday?



Sorry, Sunday was three days ago

Online LarryFatcat

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2008, 08:48:01 pm »
Hi all

I was one of the cavers that survived the Long Rake trip on the recent bank holiday weekend. All was well until we reached pitch 5 where we began to experience headaches, nausea and tiredness around the area of the dig. We realised that we had been affected by bad air after exploring the area for some time. We tried to ascend as quickly as possible but were increasingly overcome by extreme tiredness and nausea. This got worse on ascent when we began 'gulping air' every couple of metres or so up the rope(s). We returned to the surface about 9 hours (roughly 2015 hrs) after descending; late but under the circumstances happy to have made it. On the way home nausea turned to vomiting and we were taken to hospital around midnight where we were kept on 100% O2 until 0600-0700 hrs. I can confirm that the hospital carried out blood gas checks on us and reported 10% Carbon Monoxide in our blood some four hours or so after we exited the system.

These are the facts. I hope they are useful to those that wish to learn from our experience. Before anyone asks, we are trained, experienced and enthusiastic cavers.

I also hope that DCA and others discover what is going on in Long Rake but for the meantime I agree that it is very unwise for individuals to explore the site.

Best wishes and be safe

Tony

I have sent you a PM (Personal Message) to try and locate your dig which we assume is the source of the bad air.

Offline underground

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2008, 09:17:55 pm »
Hi all

I was one of the cavers that survived the Long Rake trip on the recent bank holiday weekend. All was well until we reached pitch 5 where we began to experience headaches, nausea and tiredness around the area of the dig. We realised that we had been affected by bad air after exploring the area for some time. We tried to ascend as quickly as possible but were increasingly overcome by extreme tiredness and nausea. This got worse on ascent when we began 'gulping air' every couple of metres or so up the rope(s). We returned to the surface about 9 hours (roughly 2015 hrs) after descending; late but under the circumstances happy to have made it. On the way home nausea turned to vomiting and we were taken to hospital around midnight where we were kept on 100% O2 until 0600-0700 hrs. I can confirm that the hospital carried out blood gas checks on us and reported 10% Carbon Monoxide in our blood some four hours or so after we exited the system.

These are the facts. I hope they are useful to those that wish to learn from our experience. Before anyone asks, we are trained, experienced and enthusiastic cavers.

I also hope that DCA and others discover what is going on in Long Rake but for the meantime I agree that it is very unwise for individuals to explore the site.

Best wishes and be safe

Tony

I have sent you a PM (Personal Message) to try and locate your dig which we assume is the source of the bad air.

Larry, you want to get in touch with the DCA before you start looking for bad air; FFS don't be the next casualty...

Online SamT

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2008, 10:28:30 pm »

Cheers for your post Tony. Sounds like a rum do.

Online LarryFatcat

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2008, 11:11:02 pm »

Larry, you want to get in touch with the DCA before you start looking for bad air; FFS don't be the next casualty...
I'm just trying to gather info at the moment.

Offline graham

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2008, 07:58:01 am »
Serious question. How is the person who goes to find out what the gas levels are going to protect themselves against being the next casualty? if it was CO2 then a soda lime scrubber could be used, but for CO surely one will need a full air kit, and caving in that lot down several pitches is no joke in anyone's language.
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Offline Rob

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2008, 09:04:55 am »
Serious question. How is the person who goes to find out what the gas levels are going to protect themselves against being the next casualty? if it was CO2 then a soda lime scrubber could be used, but for CO surely one will need a full air kit, and caving in that lot down several pitches is no joke in anyone's language.
I'm guessing that's actually not a serious question, but in case it is let me suggest a simple idea. Read the gas monitor from the entrance all the way to the end. If the CO level goes up then turn around. Not that difficult Graham!
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Offline graham

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2008, 09:46:01 am »
Serious question. How is the person who goes to find out what the gas levels are going to protect themselves against being the next casualty? if it was CO2 then a soda lime scrubber could be used, but for CO surely one will need a full air kit, and caving in that lot down several pitches is no joke in anyone's language.
I'm guessing that's actually not a serious question, but in case it is let me suggest a simple idea. Read the gas monitor from the entrance all the way to the end. If the CO level goes up then turn around. Not that difficult Graham!

It is a serious question, Rob. Some of our guys used air kit in Thailand a few years back in areas of high CO2 and were extremely articulate on the problems of caving in dry caves (i.e. not sumps) whilst kitted up like that. CO exposure at relatively low levels (50 ppm) can have cumulative effects and cause long-term health problems. Higher levels can be deadly quite quickly. As far as I can tell, CO will pond up like CO2, so abseiling into it would mean that you are already in trouble when your alarm sounds.

This stuff kills 50 people every year in the UK (exclusive of suicides) it needs to be taken seriously.
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Offline nickwilliams

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2008, 10:40:04 am »
It is a serious question and it goes to the heart of why the Longrake incident is such a cause for concern. The cardinal rule of confined space rescue is that you should _never_ attempt to enter a space which has a proven atmosphere problem (i.e. where someone else has already come to grief) until you are either certain that the atmosphere has been made safe, or you are equipped to provide your own good air (and not be poisoned by whatever caused the problem in the first place). 

The classic confined space incident, which happens time and time again, is where you get two fatalities, the second one being the guy who tried to rescue the first one without taking proper steps to make the situation safe.

As Graham says, using a gas detector cannot provide protection - it provides a warning, and it's easy to conceive of circumstances where that warning will be too late.

So, to answer Graham's point directly, I don't think there is a practical, safe way to measure the gas levels in the mine. I also don't think that there is any safe way that these guys could have been rescued had they not got themselves out and this is why it's so important to understand precisely what happened, since until we do, the site has got to be considered as potentially lethal.

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Offline graham

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2008, 10:56:42 am »
So, to answer Graham's point directly, I don't think there is a practical, safe way to measure the gas levels in the mine. I also don't think that there is any safe way that these guys could have been rescued had they not got themselves out and this is why it's so important to understand precisely what happened, since until we do, the site has got to be considered as potentially lethal.

Nick.

Thank you Nick, I wholeheartedly agree.

I'm just relieved it's not happened on my patch.
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Offline Hughie

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2008, 11:02:57 am »
To back up Nick and Graham's comments.

Some years ago a friend of mine experienced this whilst working on seweage system on the south coast. His colleague had descended a short access shaft to the tunnel and promptly passed out. Richard immediately went down to his colleagues assistance as he was lying face down in the water blowing bubbles. Richard reckons he passed out before he got to the bottom of the ladder.

Both were wearing gas detectors - neither signified a problem until they'd both zonked out.
The tunnel had been purged prior to their entry.
Gas detectors went of at the sewerage plant signifying the release of a gas "bubble".
Both survived - just.

This was a few years ago now - I imagine HSE have significantly tightened up operating practise since then.

Gas detectors aren't the safety net you may be presuming. The source needs to be tracked down.

Online SamT

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2008, 02:48:26 pm »
Speaking abou this recently with folks and I know that when there where CO2 probs in Knotlow, folks where taking gas meters in and a small pony and reg to breath off if they got into trouble.

So a couple of points. Cavers have already been to the bottom, dug, and got themselves out, so one assumes the concentrations aren't *that* high (of course this can change over time).

Also - cavers entering now should be prepared with a bottle and reg, but, it neednt be a full on 2 sidemount, double reg, reel knife affair, a small waist mounted pony would surely suffice.

Offline ian.p

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2008, 02:57:46 pm »
im not sure that would work the problem with CO is that it doesnt leave the blood so you cant just go ohh im feeling a bit crap ill start using the bottle because the CO will stay in your system it wont leave like CO2 which is fairly harmless in comparison in other words once youve realised youve been CO poisend it could be to late for the oxygen.

Offline Cave_Troll

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2008, 03:06:29 pm »
Also - cavers entering now should be prepared with a bottle and reg, but, it neednt be a full on 2 sidemount, double reg, reel knife affair, a small waist mounted pony would surely suffice.
The question is , is it a sliding scale of risk vs precautions?
If we accept that you should have BA, and that diving BA will do, this suggests that you are expecting to come across pockets of CO that you're going to sample. if your reg fails when you're in a pocket you're stuffed.
should the testers go in with two tanks and two regs?

Offline Mrs Trellis

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2008, 03:13:12 pm »
I'm not medical in any way but as a layman I was surprised that the symptoms became worse after exiting the cave. Did all travel in the same vehicle?
Mrs Trellis
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Offline JB

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2008, 03:23:15 pm »
Long Rake's not going anywhere and taking test gear down there won't necessarily help; it may be that the CO has dispersed now.

It seems very likely that there's a problem given what Tony has said. Let's fully investigate possible causes of this before anyone even thinks about going back into LR with or without BA kit. That may take a while but I'm sure BCA and DCA folk will do what they can to figure out if there's an obvious cause of the CO.

Jules.

Offline graham

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2008, 04:09:51 pm »
Speaking abou this recently with folks and I know that when there where CO2 probs in Knotlow, folks where taking gas meters in and a small pony and reg to breath off if they got into trouble.

So a couple of points. Cavers have already been to the bottom, dug, and got themselves out, so one assumes the concentrations aren't *that* high (of course this can change over time).

Also - cavers entering now should be prepared with a bottle and reg, but, it neednt be a full on 2 sidemount, double reg, reel knife affair, a small waist mounted pony would surely suffice.

Sam, you are talking about CO2, not CO. there is a qualitative difference in the risk.
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Offline dl

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2008, 04:15:32 pm »
Also - cavers entering now should be prepared with a bottle and reg, but, it neednt be a full on 2 sidemount, double reg, reel knife affair, a small waist mounted pony would surely suffice.
The question is , is it a sliding scale of risk vs precautions?
If we accept that you should have BA, and that diving BA will do, this suggests that you are expecting to come across pockets of CO that you're going to sample. if your reg fails when you're in a pocket you're stuffed.
should the testers go in with two tanks and two regs?

Some 20 years ago two cavers entered a level in North Wales that was known to have "bad air".  As a precaution they each took some diving kit and a gas detector with them in case they had problems.  On starting to feel unwell they employed the kit they had and started to exit, they nearly didn't make it.  After the event they did some research and it appeared that the use of a standard diving reg above water was not considered adequate protection and that only a full positive pressure BA set was regarded as suitable for use in this type of situation.

I do not know what the "bad air" was in this particular case nor the technical details but I do feel that nobody should be making assumptions about what is a safe approach to entering Long Rake without seeking professional advice.


Offline Bob Smith

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2008, 04:34:43 pm »
Conventionally BA sets used in a situation like this are rescue sets, and can be set to on demand or full flow. The last set i used for confined space entry was a 10 minute escape set, with rescue kit available similar to this http://www.anthire.co.uk/productdetail.php?prodid=11&catid=9&level=3&PHPSESSID=ecd39225a5449ed33203beb6606e5 .The rescue sets give around 45mins of air, but if you exert yourself this will be reduced. On the point of descending into a shaft with a gas detector we typically lowered a detector in before descent and left it in situ for around 20 minutes. I would certainly be unhappy investigating this sort of thing without a serious amount of preparation, even well trained operatives would be pretty daunted i suspect.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2008, 04:35:42 pm »
It's odd how the danger of CO is underestimated. If these guys hadn't made it out, and a DCRO team had gone in innocently looking for some lost cavers and also suffered casualties, just think how serious the situation would have been. We should count ourselves lucky, not only that the cavers did survive, but that we have a pretty good idea what the problem was, and that nobody else has put themselves at risk.

If hypothetically there was a seriously nasty non-gaseous poison down there, like a highly radioactive source, would we be discussing how as amateurs we would be going down to try to investigate? I don't think so!

Offline Brains

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Re: Discussion Topic: Bad Air in Long Rake Mine, Bradwell Moor
« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2008, 05:16:59 pm »
This is sounding very like a coal mining type scenario...
Traditionally and possibly unreliably a canary would be lowered down the shaft, or possibly a flame safety lamp, which I have seen used effectively by Shotlighter in Knotlow. Lowering a gas meter down carefully may be an option, but realistically without a forced draft the only viable fresh air base would be the surface, and with LR's long entrance series a free hang is not possible, so only the initial section could be pretested in this way. During out drafting the bad air may be a long way up the shaft, while conversly in drafting periods could leave the mine "fresh" for a great depth...
Glad it was good air when P bolting....

Shotlighter, any thoughts on this?

 

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