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Rebreather cause of death of British diver

An investigation into the death of a British cave diver has revealed that his rebreather was the cause of the accident. The diver was using a unit that was in the development stage. The incident occurred on 4 January 2020 At a site known as Lancaster Hole near Kirkby Lonsdale. Simon Halliday, 49, died during
Published: March 7, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:06
Rebreather cause of death of British diver

An investigation into the death of a British cave diver has revealed that his rebreather was the cause of the accident. The diver was using a unit that was in the development stage.

The incident occurred on 4 January 2020 At a site known as Lancaster Hole near Kirkby Lonsdale. Simon Halliday, 49, died during a solo exploration when he was relatively close to the exit. The man was an experienced cave diver and a member of the Northern Section of the Cave Diving Group (CDG).

According to the investigation report, Halliday arrived at the site with two friends, David McDonough and Kevin Gannon, whom he informed that the dive he had planned would take no more than three hours.

As it turned out, the man was using a rebreather, which is still under development and therefore not available on the market for normal sale. According to the information provided, he was supplied with the equipment by Sump UK.

From the moment they entered the water until the emergency services were called, the friends waited on shore for their companion for four hours. Cumbria Police alerted Cave Rescue Organisation after receiving the report and up to 40 members and divers affiliated to CDG responded to the call.

Halliday’s body was found 60 metres into the underwater passage. Data extracted from the victim’s dive computers confirmed the version that there was a problem with the rebreather and the diver had used a bailout cylinder.

The opinion presented by McDonough in court shows that Halliday liked to push the boundaries and operate in extreme conditions. Cumbria’s assistant coroner, Dr Nicholas Shaw, said it was likely Halliday’s rebreather had failed and the incident was classed as an unfortunate accident.

Photo: Cave Rescue Organisation

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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