Forty Minutes

On the 18th of September 2012 Chris Lemons died. He was a diver in the North Sea Huntington Oil Field on a rig. The job was to maintain the footings of the rig on the sea floor 200 feet down in the cold stygian blackness.

A storm was passing through the North Sea creating a massive 30 metre swell and 35 knot winds at the time of the dive. Lemons lived in a decompressed room with the diving bell on top on the rig, with around 12 other people.

They were kept in a state of constant decompression for 8 weeks, to enter the diving bell at any time and be lowered to the sea floor. Decompression is pressure, simply making their environment what it was like 200 feet down under the North Sea. Pressure.

To do otherwise would risk getting ‘The Bends’ where oxygen bubbles form in the tissue of the body and can lead to Oxygen Narcosis and death from the sudden change of pressure. For this reason when they dived they had a mixture of Helium and Oxygen to breathe. For two reasons we emit Nitrogen when breathing and if that is breathed back can result in effects on the nervous system,movement, and confusion, and tremors, so Helium is used. Second, oxygen becomes toxic when breathed under pressure. So Trimix is used.

This is to maybe understand why Lemons survived down in the depths dead, theories, but it is something to have a working knowledge of to continue.

Above there were 30 knot winds creating a 30 meter swell on the sea but still the dive went on. A diving bell was lowered with Lemons and Duncan the Bellman inside. They reached the seafloor and Lemons went out via umbilical cord to start work on the footings. The storm whipped up to such a frenzy above that the rig shifted pulling the diving bell with Lemons caught between the two, his line taking strain until it snapped, the sound like a shotgun, cutting off all air, light and communication and heat in the suit and inside the helmet. Plunging Lemons into darkness with two minutes of emergency air left.

Lemons recalled knowing this fact of looming death and remembered screaming up into the black brine, saying goodbye to his soon to be wife and Father and Mother before slipping into unconsciousness screaming names.

For forty minutes, Lemons floated dead in the water before being rescued by other divers, found twitching still, unbelievably alive, when they were looking for a corpse, and taken back to the diving bell to be resuscitated. No air all that time. He was blue, and they all thought dead.

No one knows exactly why he lived, a build up of helium and oxygen in the body?The cold?Snap freezing him. A mystery, a freak happening, bought back from death. From forty minutes.