10 Absolute Worst Ways To Die According To Science

4. Decompression


In 1983, four divers were inside a decompression chamber on the Byford Dolphin oil rig, when it explosively decompressed. The air pressure went from nine atmospheres to one in less than a second. The damage it wrought on one of the divers was nothing short of catastrophic.

Everything in the thoracic and abdominal regions, including his spine, were forcibly ejected from the body and flung up to 30 feet. His chest, organs and trachea were found scattered about the chamber.

The sudden drop in pressure will have caused the blood to boil and the autopsy found high levels of fat in the blood that had essentially "dropped out" of its dissolved state as it boiled.

The saving grace for the Byford Dolphin incident is that it was extremely quick, which is more than can be said for the Russian Soyuz-11 mission.

As the crew re-entered the atmosphere in 1971, a seal leaked, causing the cabin to depressurise. Any gas trapped in the lungs expands and damages the delicate tissue, particularly if the victims listened to their instinct to hold their breath as the air escapes.

The crew would have felt as though they had been kicked in the chest, unable to draw breath. Bubbles of gases dissolved in the blood will begin to form and travel around the circulatory system, causing extreme pain and obstructing blood flow, they would probably have experienced terrible muscle cramps.

The entire crew were found dead from asphyxiation by the time they made it to the ground.

First Posted On: 

Writer. Raconteur. Gardeners' World Enthusiast.