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  #1  
Old 06-10-2013, 02:11 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Man trapped in air pocket in sunken boat rescued after 3 days

A Nigerian crew member of a tug boat that sank was rescued three days later by a diver conducting a body recovery dive. He survived in an air pocket inside the boat which was 30m (100ft) below the surface.

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What was meant to be a body recovery mission for the South African divers turned into an underwater rescue when, after 60 hours alone in the wreck, Okene grabbed a diver as he swam past, having earlier failed to attract the attention of the first diver down.
I've been that diver, but it was mere moments after the boat in question sank. I was hoping to find a situation like this.

But if I was grabbed by a survivor 3 days after the boat sinking I would have made a big mess in my wetsuit!
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:53 PM
Balance Balance is offline
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I would imagine that a scuba mouthpiece makes screaming awkward as well.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:56 PM
bup bup is online now
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How much air would there have to be for someone to survive 3 days?
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  #4  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:57 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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I wondered why my spam folder was empty these past few days.
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2013, 05:21 PM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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That's a great story, though I agree that the recovery diver was probably startled.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2013, 05:29 PM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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I'm really surprised hypothermia wasn't an issue (or at least it wasn't mentioned in the article). What's the water temperature at 30m? Even if he was out of the water, I assume that he was still pretty wet.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:34 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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I thought it was kinda funny that they noted he had plenty of free floating sodas to drink.
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:45 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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Awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
I'm really surprised hypothermia wasn't an issue (or at least it wasn't mentioned in the article). What's the water temperature at 30m? Even if he was out of the water, I assume that he was still pretty wet.
That's very variable. But I'd be surprised if it's above body temperature.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:51 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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It's not entirely clear exactly where the boat went down, but in tropical waters it is entirely feasible to have the water temperature at 100ft be the same as at the surface. Around here it is 86 F (30C) or so.
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2013, 09:15 PM
Tabby_Cat Tabby_Cat is offline
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I dive in the tropics (Malaysia), and at 100 ft (30m?) It's about 24C or so. Noticeably colder, but not freezing. I wouldn't want to be down there for too long without a wetsuit though..
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2013, 09:44 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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This sea surface temperature map from NOAA has a scale that maxes out at 32.6C. That's around 90F, which is noticeably less than body temperature. I don't know if there are other circumstances that would result in warmer surface (or 30m down) water.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2013, 11:22 PM
straight man straight man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balance View Post
I would imagine that a scuba mouthpiece makes screaming awkward as well.
I can answer no to that from personal experience, actually.
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  #13  
Old 06-11-2013, 01:48 AM
stui magpie stui magpie is offline
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1.5 x 3 metres doesn't give the volume of the air bubble. but unless the missing dimension was pretty big it's hard to see how he lasted 3 days without using all the oxygen.

Also interested to note the point about how his body was pressurized and decompress him over 2 days, nice comparison between popping a shaken coke can if they hadn't.

And I'm betting that diver who got grabbed threw that wetsuit out once he got back on board the boat.
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  #14  
Old 06-11-2013, 02:00 AM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stui magpie View Post
1.5 x 3 metres doesn't give the volume of the air bubble. but unless the missing dimension was pretty big it's hard to see how he lasted 3 days without using all the oxygen.
Hmm, would it be better to exhale back into the bubble, or outside?
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  #15  
Old 06-11-2013, 02:48 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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According to this page: http://io9.com/5861679/how-long-woul...-in-an-airlock

The build up of co2 kills you before you've depleted the oxygen. So yeah breathing out through a tube going outside the bubble will prolong your life. But anyway sea water absorbs co2 right ? Would the co2 from expiration get absorbed fast enough by the water facing the bubble without you having to breathe out through the bubble ?
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  #16  
Old 06-11-2013, 04:04 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I cannot "fathom" that poor diver's reaction.
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2013, 01:11 PM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
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I worked topwater with a recovery team years ago. One of my duties was to observe the bubble trail from our diver on the surface of the water. If the trail never moved then it meant the diver may be snagged and we would send down a second diver to assist. (The first diver knew to keep his cool because of that rule)

We could always tell when a diver found the body. The bubbles would become larger and more frequent. Since most of the time our diver was feeling his way around the lake bed or river bed he would only be able to tell if he found the body if he was touching it. The excitement made him take a few deep quick breaths.

One time the bubbles came up huge and voluminous. Seems our diver discovered the body when he reached into the victims mouth.
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2013, 02:51 PM
Laggard Laggard is offline
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There was an around the world sailboat race a few years ago where one participant capsized in the middle of the south pacific.

He managed to survive for a few days on the air that was trapped in the cabin below deck. Amazingly he was found.
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  #19  
Old 06-12-2013, 03:11 AM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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But how did he grab the diver if he was locked in? Through a window?
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  #20  
Old 06-12-2013, 03:15 AM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
According to this page: http://io9.com/5861679/how-long-woul...-in-an-airlock

The build up of co2 kills you before you've depleted the oxygen. So yeah breathing out through a tube going outside the bubble will prolong your life. But anyway sea water absorbs co2 right ? Would the co2 from expiration get absorbed fast enough by the water facing the bubble without you having to breathe out through the bubble ?
Depends on the surface area between the air bubble and the water. The math is beyond me, though.
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  #21  
Old 06-12-2013, 04:34 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
But how did he grab the diver if he was locked in? Through a window?
Given the dimensions of the air bubble mentioned it seems the guy was in a mostly flooded room.

In a body recovery dive on a sunken vessel the diver would swim inside the vessel to look around. I'm sure the trapped man would hear the diver. Then he just had to wait and grab him as he went past.
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  #22  
Old 06-12-2013, 05:36 AM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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I was wondering why he didn't swim out on his own first. The article said some people were locked in rooms, so maybe he was locked. But then how did he reach out?
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  #23  
Old 06-12-2013, 05:42 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Being locked in a partially air-filled cabin in a sunken boat... that's got to be pretty high on my Do Not Want To Die This Way list.
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  #24  
Old 06-12-2013, 06:05 AM
voltaire voltaire is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Being locked in a partially air-filled cabin in a sunken boat... that's got to be pretty high on my Do Not Want To Die This Way list.
Gotta admit, "partially air-filled" sure beats "fully water-filled" by a country mile.
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  #25  
Old 06-12-2013, 08:57 AM
phouka phouka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balance View Post
I would imagine that a scuba mouthpiece makes screaming awkward as well.
I took an intro to SCUBA class a few years ago. One of the things the instructor stressed was "anything you can do without a regulator in your mouth, you can do with a regulator in your mouth."

Including vomit. He called it "feeding the fishes".
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  #26  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:00 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by voltaire View Post
Gotta admit, "partially air-filled" sure beats "fully water-filled" by a country mile.
You think? Barring a fortuitous rescue as in this case, I'd take a minute or two in a water-filled one over three days or however long it took to die in a partially air-filled one any day.
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  #27  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:17 PM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Even during daylight hours, I'd imagine it'd be almost pitch black down there too. Terrifying.

But, yeh, at least if he were to still succumb down there before rescue, asphyxiating on a build-up of CO2 has to be more peaceful than drowning outright.
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  #28  
Old 06-12-2013, 02:40 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Originally Posted by phouka View Post
I took an intro to SCUBA class a few years ago. One of the things the instructor stressed was "anything you can do without a regulator in your mouth, you can do with a regulator in your mouth."

Including vomit. He called it "feeding the fishes".
Even BJs?
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  #29  
Old 06-12-2013, 06:34 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
Even BJs?
Yes. See Rule 34.

OK. Technically it does require periodic removal of the mouthpiece.

It is possible to do many things while scuba diving and even take video while doing it.
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  #30  
Old 06-12-2013, 06:55 PM
Glory Glory is offline
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Ugh, he is interviewed here, it sounds like hell.
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  #31  
Old 06-12-2013, 09:44 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmyk View Post
Even during daylight hours, I'd imagine it'd be almost pitch black down there too. Terrifying.

But, yeh, at least if he were to still succumb down there before rescue, asphyxiating on a build-up of CO2 has to be more peaceful than drowning outright.
You'd think, but no. CO2 build up in the lungs is what drives air hunger and the feeling of suffocation, which is agonizing. Drowning? I've actually inhaled seawater, enough to fill my lungs, once. It didn't hurt, just felt much cooler than air. It didn't trigger a coughing reflex. I had to force exhale to expel it though. I got most of it out pretty quickly but spent the rest of the evening coughing the rest, plus all the plasma it pulled into my lungs by hypertonic osmosis. Not fun.
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  #32  
Old 06-13-2013, 01:33 AM
2square4u 2square4u is offline
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Originally Posted by phouka View Post
I took an intro to SCUBA class a few years ago. One of the things the instructor stressed was "anything you can do without a regulator in your mouth, you can do with a regulator in your mouth."

Including vomit. He called it "feeding the fishes".
If you're planning to do that, remember to switch to your backup regulator first. That'll teach your diving buddy to watch his gas consumption better next time.
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  #33  
Old 06-13-2013, 12:18 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
There was an around the world sailboat race a few years ago where one participant capsized in the middle of the south pacific.

He managed to survive for a few days on the air that was trapped in the cabin below deck. Amazingly he was found.
You're not talking about Leo Sherman and the Queequeg II are you? Joe Strykowski taught me how to dive.
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  #34  
Old 11-28-2013, 10:38 PM
Banquet Bear Banquet Bear is online now
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...just bumping this, because this video is incredible.
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  #35  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:43 PM
Jamicat Jamicat is offline
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I've seen this before someplace...

Soon as they start eating some food in the diving bell, is when that thing pops out of Harrisons chest.
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  #36  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:48 PM
Suburban Plankton Suburban Plankton is online now
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I thought that the diver and the mission leader both showed a remarkable sense of calm when that hand turned out to be attached to a live body. I would have expected a lot more screaming and cursing right at that point.
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  #37  
Old 11-29-2013, 03:47 AM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
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Thank you for sharing that video. Amazing amazing footage.
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  #38  
Old 11-29-2013, 05:12 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banquet Bear View Post
...just bumping this, because this video is incredible.
Interesting choice of music at the end there.
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  #39  
Old 11-29-2013, 05:35 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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"Body recovery diver" is not a job I will be applying for any time soon.

ETA: Also, I wonder if there is also a Jascon 5.

Last edited by Colophon; 11-29-2013 at 05:36 AM..
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  #40  
Old 11-29-2013, 07:21 AM
StrangerThanFiction StrangerThanFiction is offline
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The interesting part starts around 5:20.
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  #41  
Old 11-29-2013, 09:27 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Watching that video, Control's voice is very clear, but both the diver and the sailor sound like they're on helium. I'm guessing that's not an artifact of the recording, whomever's on Control needs to be able to decipher helium-voice. Is that correct?

Last edited by Nava; 11-29-2013 at 09:28 AM..
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  #42  
Old 11-29-2013, 12:08 PM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
You think? Barring a fortuitous rescue as in this case, I'd take a minute or two in a water-filled one over three days or however long it took to die in a partially air-filled one any day.
I don't know... seems to me that death by gradual asphyxiation because the oxygen level has become too low would be something akin to dying relatively peacefully from carbon monoxide poisoning, but dying by sucking in lungfuls of water (drowning) would be something akin to... pure hell.



ETA: Looks like this was addressed above.

Last edited by I Love Me, Vol. I; 11-29-2013 at 12:10 PM..
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  #43  
Old 12-03-2013, 10:51 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Watching that video, Control's voice is very clear, but both the diver and the sailor sound like they're on helium. I'm guessing that's not an artifact of the recording, whomever's on Control needs to be able to decipher helium-voice. Is that correct?
Sometimes divers do breathe trimix, a blend of gas that includes helium, though not usually at the depths of this incident. This can result in the diver's voice being shifted up to a higher pitch. Electrical transcoders can help adjust the diver's voice so it is more intelligible to surface support.
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  #44  
Old 12-03-2013, 11:13 AM
Crotalus Crotalus is offline
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That is incredible video. If the link fails, just search for Jascom 4.
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  #45  
Old 12-03-2013, 11:38 AM
Bam Boo Gut Bam Boo Gut is offline
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Shudder. How incredible. The instructor topside hardly misses a beat does he?
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  #46  
Old 12-03-2013, 12:27 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stui magpie View Post
1.5 x 3 metres doesn't give the volume of the air bubble. but unless the missing dimension was pretty big it's hard to see how he lasted 3 days without using all the oxygen.
Given that he was 30 meters down, the ambient pressure was 4 atmospheres (as opposed to 1 atmosphere when floating at the surface), so for a given volume of space, he had 4x as much oxygen available as he would have at the surface. So at the outset, every cubic meter of airspace would have 4x20% = 0.8 standard-cubic-meters of oxygen available.

Metabolic equivalent oxygen consumption is 3.5 ml/min/kg, so for a 100-kg man (he looked heavy in the video), that's 350 ml/min, or 0.504 standard-cubic-meters of oxygen per day for a 2.5-day total of 1.26 standard-cubic-meters of oxygen. If we assume he starts running into trouble when the oxygen density reaches the equivalent of 20,000 feet up on a mountainside (0.092 actual cubic meters of oxygen per cubic meter of air), then to survive 2.5 days at that depth, he'd need just 1.77 cubic meters of space. Looking at the video, it appears he had at least that.

I'm at a loss to explain how he didn't kill himself with CO2 buildup, other than that it must have been dissolving into the water fast enough to keep the airborne concentration at a safe level.
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  #47  
Old 12-03-2013, 05:10 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crotalus View Post
That is incredible video. If the link fails, just search for Jascom 4.
Jascon 4.
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  #48  
Old 12-03-2013, 11:56 PM
Shayna Shayna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post

Interesting choice of music at the end there.
It's the theme from "The Great Escape."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crotalus View Post

That is incredible video. If the link fails, just search for Jascom 4.
Or click here.
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