Everest: more oxygen blowing up in Kathmandu

Posted: Apr 07, 2012 03:41 am EDT

(Newsdesk) Last weekend, Ted Atkins was injured testing a Poisk regulator with a new Summit cylinder. He recommended users to wear ski goggles and gloves when changing the regs, and put the cylinder onto the regulator keeping the regulator in the same plane with the gauge pointing at the ground.

"It could be that this was simply a ‘one off’ defective regulator," The wrote, but seems there has been more. Here goes from Ted.

Ted Atkins: Mingma's story and advice from engineering consultant

Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summits earlier emailed the attached photos. While attaching a Summit regulator to a Poisk cylinder for the first time the regulator exploded. Flames erupted and he ended up burnt.

He persisted and disconnected the regulator and made the situation safe. He then asked to come and see me with the regulator. The metal case is burnt through in two points. This is different and potentially more serious that the previous accident as this was an ignition.

I quizzed Mingma extensively if it was at all possible that either item had come into contact with oil, grease or paraffin. He is adamant this could not be so. We have to trust hid judgement, he is very experienced in this field. I took advice from a Ph.D. engineering consultant who had this to say:

"I'm sure a specialist could get to the bottom of this but it might be expensive. If accidents like this happened in the UK the operation would be shut down, and the failed parts taken for analysis into the root cause. This might lead to batches being recalled if manufacturing or bottle-filling error was suspected. This has happened with medical O2 regulators in the rare cases they have failed".

I have passed what I know to Summit Oxygen and await a response. Meanwhile please be careful. Mingma was not wearing gloves or any other safety equipment. This would have saved or reduced the burns to his hands. It could be said that he has been lucky! Until Summit get back with a definitive response please use use your best judgement. I will keep you informed of any new developments as I have them.

Ted Atkins

Last week Ted Atkins was injured testing a Poisk regulator in conjunction with a new Summit cylinder, delivered as being higher pressure than the Poisk cylinders. The regulator that failed was not an old style nor was it the newest style.

Having sold a number of these cylinders Ted felt obliged to inform all of a potential problem. An Aero Systems Engineering Officer working with the RAF Mountain Rescue Service Ted Ted is known for his very popular Topout oxygen mask that he decided to build in 2004 after he ran out of oxygen on Everest and was saved by a Sherpa.

Ted Atkins, 
Topout Oxygeneering Ltd www.topout.co.uk Call in Kathmandu 00977 9803149195
 Twitter @topoutoxygen
Use no oil or grease - return equipment after each season for service. See web site for user guide.


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When Ted fastened the Poisk reg onto the new Summit cylinder there was an explosion and pieces from the gauge were embedded in his neck. "I am grateful to Kaju from Asian Trekking for taking this out with a pair of pliers," Ted said.
Image by Ted Atkins courtesy Ted Atkins, 
Topout Oxygeneering Ltd
Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summits was injured after the Summit regulator exploded while attaching it to a Poisk cylinder. "This is different and potentially more serious that the previous accident as this was an ignition," Ted said.
Image by Ted Atkins

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