Dismembered in 0.1 Seconds — Byford Dolphin Accident Explained

Moment of death dissected

Col Jung
9 min readJul 22, 2023
Diver Truls Hellevik in May 1983, months before his extremely grisly death. Credit: Unknown (Fair Use)

In the wake of the 2023 Titan implosion, another disaster of a similar flavour has returned to the fore: the Byford Dolphin accident in 1983.

Regarded as an astonishingly brutal industrial incident, the lives of four saturation divers working on a Norwegian oil rig perished in a horrifying instant — their blood flash-boiled as the dissolved gases in their bodies and bloodstreams expanded 9-fold.

They exploded from the inside out — quite literally.

It gets worse.

One of the poor chaps — violently blasted through a small hatch — was gruesomely torn to pieces, spraying the deck with gory torrent.

British diver Roy Lucas and tender Billy Crammond both met a violent end on the Byford Dolphin. Credit: Unknown (Fair Use)

Like the five Titanic explorers, these five industrial workers from a generation earlier were victims of a catastrophic failure.

In an instant, they were very dead, very fast and in a very unpleasant manner.

Saturation Diving

In 1963, the first purpose-built drilling semi-submersible was launched.