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Video clip caption and additional information
The diver begins the fingertip search in the oil lake.

The video clips of the oil dive have been presented by Ian Hunter, Senior diver of the Guernsey Police Force. The account of the dive follows: Some years ago the Police diving Team were asked to locate a safe containing some valuables from an oil lake in a quarry which was used for storing waste oils from cars and similar. The quarry lake was some 30 feet deep, the top 10 feet being pure oil. The safe was believed to be located on one of the slopes of the quarry and despite the challenging nature of the search the Police Team felt the search could be made.

All the surface personnel wore protective suits, gloves, masks and eye protectors and a fresh water supply and a steam cleaner was arranged for the decontamination process at the end of the operation. The Diver, Ian Hunter entered the oil wearing a Gates membrane suit with a neck ring and dry (type C) hood, two pairs of gloves the first being surgical with the outer ones being rubber which were clamped on to the suit. The air supply was surface supplied to an AGA positive pressure mask and regulator. The bail out supply was provided by a 6 litre passive bail out set.

The search took 62 minutes and was the most unusual dive Ian had ever undertaken. There were a number of novel effects Ian recalls. The first was when exhaling he was surprised to find it took no more effort than exhaling in water and also the lack of sound. All that could be heard was a rather comforting 'blooop' rather than the normal rush of bubbles. the other thing that was noticed was the warmth of the medium which was a very comfortable temperature and it was only when Ian broke through to the water level below that the real temperature of 50 degrees F made itself felt. The oil was of such a viscosity that when it covered the mask there was absolutely zero visibility and it was literally a fingertip search. When Ian finally surfaced he could only just tell the difference between light and dark but could see nothing else until he had been steam cleaned!

Our special thanks go to Ian Hunter, Senior Diver of the
Guernsey Police for the video footage and the account of the dive.

If you have piece of video footage you would like to contribute to 'Diving Heritage TV'
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Last update:
12th October 2011

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