Today we invoke: St. Wulfram of Sens, protector against the dangers of the sea, St. Abhai, patron saint protecting against poisonous reptiles, and St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animal welfare. A random collection of saints, but wait! There is a good reason! I want to tell you about explosive decompression.
The first account of decompression sickness came from Robert Boyle, who put a viper in a vacuum and discovered bubbles in its flesh. Also known as “the bends,” the condition is caused by a change from an extremely high pressure to normal atmospheric pressure. Modern divers use decompression tanks and gradual ascents to avoid the sickness, but the dangers aren’t limited to the bends; uncontrolled decompression can be catastrophic. The only known occurrence of this took place on the Byford Dolphin. While at depth, a hatch was opened that caused the cabin to decompress, killing five. One of the divers exploded.
Exploded. His chest blew up and his thoracic spine was ejected. His arms popped off. So did his legs. His remains were shot through the narrow slit between the body of the craft and the bell and found scattered over the rig, 30 feet above. There are no pictures that I am aware of, and I looked pretty hard.