Explosive Decompression

Some trashy movie I saw a while back got me interested in explosive decompression. The scene we see in the movies is something that occurs in the movies only, I found, and the actual decompression that is classified as explosive really is an explosion of sorts. It’s something that happens in a time span of 0.1 and 0.5 seconds, a far cry from the movie style sucked-into-space sort of thing where everybody grasps at railings as their feet fly in the air. There is a serious risk of lung damage when this actually happens.

Source: Wikipedia

Derek Boshier – The Identi-Kit Man (1962)

Reading Wikipedia, I wandered on to a page concerning something called the Byford Dolphin accident. The Byford Dolphin is an oil-exploration rig and the site of a famous accident where a number of people lost their lives due to explosive decompression. The description of the fate of one of the men onboard (here called diver D4) is particularly gruesome:

Diver D4 was shot out through the small jammed hatch door opening, and was ripped apart. Subsequent investigation by forensic pathologists determined that diver D4, being exposed to the highest pressure gradient, violently exploded due to the rapid and massive expansion of internal gases. All of his thoracic and abdominal organs, and even his thoracic spine were ejected, as were all of his limbs. Simultaneously, his remains were expelled with force through the narrow trunk opening left by the jammed chamber door, less than 60 centimeters (24 inches) in diameter. Fragments of his body were found scattered about the rig. One part was even found lying on the rig’s derrick, 10 meters (30 feet) directly above the chambers. His death most likely was instantaneous and painless.

Source: Wikipedia

Patrik Caulfield – Black and White Flower Piece (1963)

This man literally exploded and his spine shot from his body. It was a terrible accident and we should hope it never happens again, but what a way to go: to end your life as the Spontaneously Exploding Man.

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