Inflator Malfunction Causes a Rapid Ascent

An inflator suddenly fires air into the BCD, causing a diver to ascend rapidly.

Reported Story

A diver was completing an easy and uneventful 18 m (60 ft) dive when all of a sudden, the BCD air injector triggered without manual activation, causing a rapid, uncontrolled ascent to the surface. Since the rapid ascent was apparently inconsequential, the diver switched gear and continued with her day of diving without any problems. The next day she reported a mild headache, but it resolved favorably without intervention.


Problems with equipment seem to be a relatively rare occurrence, but can happen to any diver. Good maintenance is the key to avoid surprises during a dive that could put the diver at risk.

Proper buoyancy control is a fundamental skill to ensure dive safety. Effective training would have ensured that well assimilated safety procedures were followed – like pushing the deflator button to avoid an uncontrolled rapid ascent. A rapid ascent could be a life threatening incident, triggering anything from decompression sickness to a lung over expansion injury and even an arterial gas embolism.

Sergio Viegas, DAN Brasil