The British navy will carry out submarine escapes from depths as great as 450 feet (about 137 metres) during trials in the Mediterranean next month (July 5-19, off Malta).
GV H.M.S. Dolphin building
SV Man puts on suit (2 shots)
SV Other divers watch
CU Puts on nose clip
SV Escape signals on notice board
SV Puts on hood with plastic face piece
SV PAN Tank, diver prepares to go down
SV Diver disappears under water
TV Diver descends in tank
SV Naval cameraman
SV Diver rises rapidly, climbs out of tank
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Background: The British navy will carry out submarine escapes from depths as great as 450 feet (about 137 metres) during trials in the Mediterranean next month (July 5-19, off Malta).
Two officers and ten ratings from the British submarine base at Gosport near Portsmonth, will take part. The trials involve a new technique in which the submariner is dressed in an escape suit incorporating a cotton fabric hood with a plastic face piece and uses trapped air on his way to the surface.
Underwater television cameras will be used in the trials. It is hoped to prove that live escapes from much greater depths than the 266 feet (some 81 metres) already achieved in the Mediterranean can be made safely. The last in 1962 used the normal buoyant technique.
In the new technique being developed, the submariner is released from a one-man cylinder inside the submarine. This is flooded up till the pressure equals that of the surrounding sea. An important result of this method is that pressure is achieved rapidly and the man escaping is subjected to it for the absolute minimum period before leaving the submarine.
While inside the cylinder, he breathes air supplied automatically from the submarine at the correct rate before making his escape. At Gosport, a special nose clip with springs has been designed to enable the diver to equalise the pressure in his ears while descending for the escape test.