A diver survived more than 30 minutes at the bottom of the North Sea after his oxygen cord was severed in an oil rig repair job gone horribly wrong

north sea diver chris lemonsChris Lemons working in the North Sea before his oxygen cord was cut, shown in footage from a documentary about the incident.Dogwoof/Business Insider

  • A diver survived after spending more than 30 minutes in the North Sea after his oxygen cord was severed during oil rig maintenance.
  • Chris Lemons' cord was cut when the ship he was attached to began to drift out of control. The cord got tangled in part of the oil rig, and got disconnected.
  • Lemons was left with only a few minutes of air, and he fell unconscious. He told a TV documentary he accepted "there was no hope of survival, I was powerless to do anything to save myself."
  • His crew expected to retrieve a dead body, but he awoke after mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and returned to diving three weeks later.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A British diver survived a horrifying underwater accident which left him under the North Sea with no oxygen supply for more than 30 minutes.

Chris Lemons was 100 meters (338 feet) underwater in 2012, attached to the support ship by a cord, when the supply was severed.

The tube provided his oxygen supply, power for his headlamp, and his only way of communicating with the rest of the world.

Lemons described his ordeal for a TV documentary, "Last Breath", which was released last month. Press material for the documentary described how the accident, and miraculous rescue, went down.

Chris Lemons diver north sea oil rigAn unconscious Chris Lemons is retrieved from a North Sea oil rig.YouTube/Dogwoof

The cord was severed when Lemons' support ship suffered a system failure, and started to drift in the sea. It dragged him and his fellow diver, Dave Yuasa, along with it. Lemons' cord snagged on the oil rig, stretching and snapping before Yuasa could help him.

This left Lemons trapped with just a six-minute oxygen supply inside his suit. The crew knew that they couldn't rescue him for at least 30 minutes.

A crew member pulled up the severed chord and shouted "I've lost my diver, I've lost my diver."

Lemons told the BBC that, using his limited oxygen, he managed to climb to the top of the structure he had been working on, but then realized he could do nothing else, and assumed death would follow.

Read more: Divers found fossils of an ancient giant sloth hidden in a sinkhole. The creature was 20 feet long.

"I realised very quickly that the end was nigh. I was on a countdown clock and it was counting very fast."

Lemons acknowledged the slim chances of his survival: "I think once I accepted there was no hope of survival, I was powerless to do anything to save myself. A quiet resignation came over me.

Chris Lemons North sea diverChris LemonsYouTube/Dogwoof.

"I remember it being a period of great sadness really, of disbelief. How I could find myself in this dark, sad, horrible place and this is where I would end my days. I thought of everybody at home and the chaos I would cause."

Lemons then fell unconscious.

When Yuasa returned to recover him, the crew expected to be retrieving a body.

But Lemons survived, and did not suffer any permanent damage from the ordeal.

Read more: An explorer took a $48 million submarine on 3 record-breaking dives to the deepest corners of the ocean - and discovered a mysterious new species

Lemons said that the limited oxygen in his suit had "a high concentration of oxygen which saturated my tissues and cells to allow me to survive."

And he told the BBC that he woke up confused after receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from Yuasa.

He said he woke up to see Yuasa "l looking exhausted and not really knowing why."

"It was only a few days later that I realised the gravity of the situation."

Lemons returned to diving just three weeks after the incident, and married his then-fiancee.

Subscribe to whatsappSubscribe to whatsapp
Add Comment()
Comments ()
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.