Diver is left with a swollen body ‘like Popeye’ after his air supply was cut off when a cargo ship sliced through his oxygen line in Peru.
Alejandro ‘Willy’ Ramos
A deep sea diver was left with arms and a chest like Popeye after a fishing accident off the coast of Pisco, in southern Peru.
Alejandro ‘Willy’ Ramos, 57, was deep sea diving for shellfish four years ago with a colleague and his son when a huge cargo ship cut across his vital air hose.
This was Willy’s only source of compressed air and though he was able to swim to the surface, the change in pressure caused irreparable damage to his chest and arms and added 30 kilos to his frame.
He swam up from 100 ft below and it is thought that nitrogen caused the damage to his pectorals and arms.
According to El Nacional, when diver’s bodies experience pressure under the sea nitrogen becomes compressed and is deposited in fatty tissue.
But when they swim back to the surface, the nitrogen expands back into its gaseous form and the bubbles can block the blood, known as decompression syndrome.
Because Willy needed air he did not have time to climb up slowly as divers must do to prevent damage.
The newspaper reported that before the Naval Medical Centre looked at his special case, Willy had been embarrassed to leave his home.
The bulky frame he had acquired made him feel uncomfortable in public and lack of funds meant he was unable to seek much treatment.
The father-of-two had to endure aching bones and his chest hissing when he breathed, the Venezuelan daily said.
Willy followed his father into the fishing business at the age of 30 and said that back then divers only had to go down about half the distance that he dove to on the day of the accident.
But shellfish had receded to the deeper waters due to over-fishing and that made things more dangerous.
Willy said he gets depressed about his deformity but thanks God that he is alive.
He said: ‘I became very depressed, I was close to killing myself. One day I bought rat poison and my son said “Dad would you like to die like a rat?”, After all I’ve been through?’
Willy’s sister, Mary, added: ‘People ask question, kids too. They come up when he is sat down and touch him when he is sat down and grab his swollen shoulders. They laugh and say “look it’s Popeye.”
‘The way he’s now, he shouldn’t be alive. But at least have the satisfaction that he’s here with me.’
Recently the diver travelled to Naval Hospital in Lima to meet with Dr Raul Aguado, a specialist in Hyperbaric and underwater medicine.
After examining Willy’s blood and tissue, Dr Aguado confirmed that Willy does have nitrogen bubbles lodged in his fatty tissue.
Now that he has the answer he has waited four years for, he can undergo a serious of treatments including reconstructive and aesthetic surgeries to cut off the tissue.
Willy said: ‘There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe one day I’ll go diving again and see the islands.’
Source: Daily Mail