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Horrible Accident to one of our Own


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#1 Steve Douglas

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:13 PM

This is probably not the place to post this but it is the place where more people may know the person. Rick Allen, a professional and working shooter who has done much work for the National Geographic and Discovery channels, whose breaching Great Whites have been in a ton of national commercials, and who discovered Blackbeard the Pirate's Queen Anne's Revenenge in N.Carolina, accidently knocked over an oxygen tank last night. It blew up blowing through the house, blowing off the fenders of two cars and setting Rick on fire. He is currently in intensive care, in an induced coma with 25% burns to his body. They had to amputate the lower portion of his left arm. His wife Cindy, a professional photographer, was in the bathroom when it happened and she herself had to get 12 stitches to her face.

Rick is one of the very finest guys I have known. Many years ago, he was putting together a pilot series for the networks and bought a few of my DV films for far more than they were worth. $1000 for a 5 min Standard Def movie was a lot in those days. This was long before HDV came out. He also bought several of my fellow videographer friends films and paid everyone. He never was able to sell the pilot and lost money but he was always straight up and honest. We have kept in touch over the years by phone or email, and last year he invited me to complete my bucket list dive with the sandtigers off N.Carolina. He and his wife Cindy couldn't have been more hospitable. We communicated via email just yesterday regarding doing the sand tigers again this coming July 4th. And then this.
http://www.fayobserv...060453?sac=Home

I was shocked to get a call this morning telling me about the accident. Knowling Rick, he will be determined to get back in the water. I pray he does.
If you know Rick, or even if you don't, you couldn't find a nicer gentleman or a more knowledgeable shooter.

Steve

I've moved the topic to the galley-Moderator

Edited by adamhanlon, 05 January 2011 - 03:25 AM.

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#2 AllisonFinch

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 03:56 PM

Oh, my.....!!

I am in Chapel Hill and would like to check on him and help his wife while she is up here. If you get his room number (HEPA makes it impossible to get) I will do this. You could PM me, if you find out.

#3 Steve Douglas

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:08 PM

Will do Allison, thanks. I am 3,000 miles away in San Diego. Kind of helpless to do anything but hope for a successful recovery.
Steve

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Steve Douglas
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#4 jonny shaw

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:08 PM

That's awful! Fingers crossed for him.

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#5 Steve Douglas

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:30 PM

The latest report with a video attached.
Steve
http://www.wral.com/.../story/8875309/

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#6 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 05:11 PM

What a tragedy!
I hope that he recover fully!
Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 04 January 2011 - 05:12 PM.

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#7 Nick Hope

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:57 PM

Best wishes to Rick and his wife for their recovery.

#8 Viz'art

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 04:49 AM

Me and my wife (a third degree burn victim herself) are with them in our thought, its a horrible and painfull process to recovery, one that takes a heavy toll mentally and physically. Our wish is for a speedy recovery for both of them and a quick return to the most soothing of environment of them all, our beloved water!
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#9 SimonSpear

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:27 AM

Oh my, watching that news report literally covered me in goose bumps. I don't know Rick, but like many I've heard of him and he's one of those guys that everyone only seems to have good things to say about. I hope he recovers quickly and makes it back into the water one day soon.

Edited by SimonSpear, 05 January 2011 - 09:27 AM.


#10 DeanB

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

What a terrible nightmare, speedy recovery to Rick

Dive safe

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#11 dbh

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:08 AM

Prayers for Rick and his wife from KY!

I have never had the pleasure to dive with either, but have heard nothing but praises for him.

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#12 Scubamoose

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 07:56 AM

Very sad news!!

It's hard to see the positive side in these thing's, but I quess it could of ended even worse. The video footage from the garage made me think how can one walk out of there on his own after a blast like that...
I wish a quick recovery for Rick and Cindy!!!!!!!!!!

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#13 Steve Douglas

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:59 PM

The latest news report.-Steve


Published: 06:53 AM, Thu Jan 06, 2011
Videographer's condition remains critical after scuba tank blast





By James Halpin
Staff writer

Cindy Burnham was in her pajamas Monday night, leaning over the sink to brush her teeth, when she heard the garage door starting to raise up - her husband was home from a Carolina Hurricanes game.

The next thing she knew she had been thrown to the floor several feet back, with shards of glass from the shattered mirror in her face. Burnham, a photographer at The Fayetteville Observer, grabbed her dog and ran to the door to the garage, trying to find her husband, Rick Allen.

"The door was blown out," Burnham said. "I could see my husband on fire inside the garage."

Allen called for her to call 911 and get a fire extinguisher. She grabbed one a few feet away, then struggled to get the pin out and extinguish the flames burning on Allen's back.

"There was blood coming out of my face, and one eye I couldn't see out of because of all of the blood on my face," Burnham said.

She then called medics on a cell phone, gave them the address and helped guide them to the home on Partridge Court, she said.

Burnham was discharged from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center after receiving between 10 to 12 stitches to her face for her injuries. But Allen, who is also a photojournalist, remained in critical condition on Wednesday at UNC Hospitals' Jaycee Burn Center.

One of Allen's hands was severed in the blast, and his left arm was amputated to the elbow as a result, Burnham said. He has burns over 20 percent of his body - his legs, back and left side - and though he remained on a ventilator for smoke inhalation, he was alert, could see and squeeze with his right hand, she said.

"He's hanging in there. He's going to be OK," Burnham said. "It's going to be a long haul, but he's a real positive guy. I've been able to make some jokes, and I can tell when he squeezes my hand that he's laughing, so he's a strong dude."

What caused the explosion remains a mystery. Burnham said the couple, who own an underwater video and photography production business, keep a lot of dive equipment in the garage. The tank that burst contained compressed oxygen and was used in safety stops to help clear out residual nitrogen and prevent the bends, she said.

Allen told responders he bumped into the tank and knocked it over, causing the explosion that destroyed the wall separating the garage from the house. It wasn't clear what material the tank was made of.

"We're been diving for 25, 30 years, and we're real careful about all that stuff," Burnham said. "It's just a freak thing."

Authorities were continuing their investigation into the cause of the explosion. Meanwhile, the couple is focusing on moving forward, and Burnham said they have been overwhelmed by all the support they've gotten.

"I keep telling Rick about all the folks who are asking about him, and it brightens him," she said. "It makes him feel good. It's amazing how many people we know that are helping out."

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#14 Viz'art

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:14 PM

Thanks for the update, I hope the source of the explosion is narrowed down, many of us spend our days surrounded by this type of gear, and to say the least, that is a major gear malfunction, I have spend the last day with this in my mind, something I cannot wrap my head around, as far as we know we are not in the habit of breathing flammable gaz, there would have to be another comustible involved, I can understand oxygen fueling and open source of fire, but cannot for the life of me how, pure oxygen would convert to flammes by itself, am I missing something here, maybe it my wife experience (she got seriously burn in a gaz stove explosion) this one I could understand, being propane gaz. I hope they get to the bottom of this, I have a lump in my throat just thinking about the poor chap.
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#15 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 08:38 PM

Thanks for the update, I hope the source of the explosion is narrowed down, many of us spend our days surrounded by this type of gear, and to say the least, that is a major gear malfunction, I have spend the last day with this in my mind, something I cannot wrap my head around, as far as we know we are not in the habit of breathing flammable gaz, there would have to be another comustible involved, I can understand oxygen fueling and open source of fire, but cannot for the life of me how, pure oxygen would convert to flammes by itself, am I missing something here, maybe it my wife experience (she got seriously burn in a gaz stove explosion) this one I could understand, being propane gaz. I hope they get to the bottom of this, I have a lump in my throat just thinking about the poor chap.


Jean, oil and oxygen under pressure react very violent:
http://www.docstoc.c...-OXYGEN-AND-OIL
http://www.airproduc...xygenLances.htm
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse8.pdf
As the accident happend in the garage where oil drops are very likely, he may fell over the tank, a leak occured,
pure oxygen got in contact with oil drops on the car or the bottom and the whole thing exploded.
Most of scuba related explosions occur while mixing "home made" Nitrox using the partial pressure method.
Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 06 January 2011 - 08:43 PM.

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#16 Viz'art

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 04:21 AM

Thanks Chris, still I have seen a scuba tank fall off a pick up truck at 100k per hour and not lose a puff of air. normally I would say a scuba tank is a very reliable and secure container, Man, I keep all tanks in a separate locker, You can be sure I will definitely take a look and remove any inflammable liquid or gaz or paint from there.

Like Burnham say's it's a freak thing.

Do they have a website, blog or e-mail address were we can send our moral support to?

Edited by Viz'art, 07 January 2011 - 04:23 AM.

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#17 AllisonFinch

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:05 AM

As I live in Chapel Hill, where he is being treated, I would still like to get in contact with the family. There are several divers in our department who would be willing to help the family while waiting at the hospital. I could bring coffee, meals etc to help make the stay less stressful. We do that all the time for injured police officers and firefighters.

If you have contact info, PM me.

#18 Steve Douglas

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:19 AM

Here you go, I know Rick and Cindy will greatly appreciate all support.
http://getwellrick.com/guestbook.
Steve

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#19 Viz'art

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:32 AM

thanks for the link.
Jean Bruneau / Aquatica Technical Advisor

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#20 Steve Douglas

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 10:27 AM

While I understand everyone's concerns regarding the cause of this horrible accident as it may be something to learn from and it may not be, the real concern is for the health and recovery of Rick Allen and his wife, Cindy.
Rick will be in the hospital for another couple of months and many of his friends back in N.Carolina will be there to help and be supportive. Their home and vehicles were also severely damaged.
It has occurred to me that maybe there are those of you who might be willing to donate something, anything, to helping them get back on their feet. No mention or request for this has come from Cindy, who is coping as well as she can while Rick remains under heavy sedation ,but I would be more than willing to oversee any donations made to them.
Being 3,000 miles away in San Diego, I can't, as some have already done, go to their home to help clear away the debris, but this is something I can do. If anyone would be willing to send them donations please make the checks out to World Films & Travel and in the memo line at the bottom, write Rick and Cindy Allen. My address is: 5260 Mary Fellows Ave, La Mesa, Ca. 91942 If any people deserve this help, it is Rick and Cindy so I hope this idea flies with all of you.
Steve

Just found out that on the http://getwellrick.com/guestbook you can also make donations via Paypal. So, whatever works for you, please donate anything you can, any way you want to.

Edited by steve, 14 January 2011 - 03:48 PM.

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