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  • : Histoires d'un scaphandrier or the Stories of a Commercial Diver
  • Histoires d'un scaphandrier or the Stories of a Commercial Diver
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6 décembre 2008 6 06 /12 /décembre /2008 14:28


One of the biggest underwater works made in Belgium in the seventies, was the construction of the Rupel tunnel which if we take into consideration the sole underwater operation’s lasted from 1977 to 1980.

The tunnel was made of several huge elements that had to be laid and connected together across the canal of Willebroeck and the Rupel River and therefore a lot of dives had to be made at a depth of 24 meters (80 feet) by a team of nearly 20 divers.

The tasks were extremely varied such as: cutting – welding – blasting – jetting – concrete pouring - and a bunch of other interesting operations.

One of the work's I had to do during several days was to install 8’’ obturators inside drain pipes. At first glance this did not appeared to be difficult except that to reach the drain pipes, I had to progress some 40 meters inside one of the elements of the tunnel which had been completely flooded due to a construction defect, then, I had to turn left pass a door, follow the bottom concrete floor for about 10 other meters to finally reach a small square opening (50 cm x 50 cm) present in the floor of the element.

This opening gave access to a small chamber (3 m high x 1 m x 1 m) and it was there that I had to install the plug inside a drain that passed at that bottom of the room.

So in fact, the most difficult part of my work was to pass through these small square openings, and this was really not easy due to my bailout bottle. Anyway, I managed to do it every time except on this particular day of 29 March 78.

That day I could enter the room and install my plug but when my job was completed I had the disagreeable surprise to see that I was trapped in the room and could not get out of it.

Every time I tried to pass the opening above my head, I felt that my back was hooked by something. At first it didn’t bother me; I just tried calmly for several times. But after 10 or 15 minutes unsuccessful trials I really started to get nervous and the more I tried the more I blocked.

Finally, after having made a real effort to calm down again, I decided to stay at the bottom of the chamber and ask for a stand by diver. Unfortunately in those years, it was not yet the policy of the diving companies to have a stand by diver ready and so I had to wait nearly 20 minutes more before my teammate arrived above the opening and helped me to come out of my grave.

In fact what had happened was that one of the straps of my bailout had come loose and hooked to a rebar each time I tried to come out.



Do not like the idiots we were at that time.

Have a standby diver ready in any circumstance.


Papy One


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mark 23/10/2014 18:02

Salut l'artiste. Belle histoire.

Si jamais tu serais d'accord avec d'un côté mes corrections apportées à ton original et le fait de le soumettre à la rédaction de l'IDSA NEWS (dont ci-joint une copie du dernier numéro) pour
éventuellement y paraître avec ou sans ton nom ou bien avec la référence au blog sous le titre générique d'une rubrique "FROM THE WET FIELD IN THE OLDEN DAYS", qui sait, seraient-ils très content
de la publier.

Problème seulement avec les dates. 1979-1980? Et plus loin tu parles de 1978? J'en ai fait sous réserve de tes corrections et vérifications bien sûr, 1969.

Aujourd'hui, je suis à Barcelone avec l'IDSA, l'EDTC, IDRF, ADAS, INPP, NDC, etc..., bref, toute la bande.

Tiens bon partout! Mark

Papy One 23/10/2014 19:07


Bonjour Mark, j'ai bien lu ton commentaire sur over-blog. Pour rappel, cela fait déjà la 3ième ou 4ième fois que tu me demandes si je suis d'accord pour que tu utilises
mes histoires pour les publier sur IDSA. A chaque fois je te réponds que oui et que cela ne me gène pas que tu corriges vu que tu parles un petit peu mieux l'English que moi. Mais a
chaque fois que je dis oui = plus de nouvelles ;0) Concernant les dates elles sont exactes à 100% vu que je prend les références dans mes log books et agendas. Avant publication,
j'aimerais néanmoins un droit de regard. Et avec la publication faire référence vers mon blog. Ca me rapporte des points ;O) A+