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May 11, 2009

Scary stuff...

Randy Bocelli of the Adrenaline Force Tournament Series and Bring It On Paintball was involved in a serious accident on Wednesday 5/6/09. Back in the day, before things became standardized, high pressure tanks had a number of different diameter thread sizes to hold the regulator to the tank. Air Concepts, Inc., had a tank with a large diameter hole but with an aftermarket adapter a "regular" size reg could be put on the tank.

Randy received a tank with an adapter at his shop, removed the reg, had the tank hydro tested, put the reg back on and while filling the tank the reg and adapter separated from the tank. At about 20 seconds into the video the tank comes flying from the top right side of the video and smashes into a store display. The reg and adapter, still attached to the fill hose swings around and cracks Randy in the ribs. He can be seen staggering to the floor soon after.

The tank hydroed safe. The problem was a hydro test checks the tank - not after market stuff that has been added later. If there is a moral to the story or a lesson to be learned it might be "beware of modifications." I can't tell you how many guns I've refused to air up because of some of the hinkey stuff I've seen hanging off of them or how many tanks I've refused to fill because of odd tool markings on the burst disk or fill nipple.

Thank heavens Randy is alright. This is just another reminder to watch yourself and those around you. (And just an odd side note - when the police arrived shortly after the para-medics their first impression was Randy go hurt while playing paintball inside the store. Go figure!)
Click pictures to enlarge


Brules,  May 11, 2009, 8:56:00 PM  

Mick, whats your procedure for checking hydros on walk on tanks on field days? I dont think I have ever seen anyone check a tank before putting it on the hose....? or had any of mine checked...just a thought!

mick May 12, 2009, 12:18:00 AM  

We will be reviewing our procedures this week-end. Thanks for asking.

Brett May 15, 2009, 3:49:00 PM  

I'm glad to see he is OK and that no one was in the store at the time to get hit.

If you guys can think of a way of avoiding this please let me know. We have had 2 tank issues and 1 kid got hurt pretty bad. Both issues where different from this one but both had the same result.

We are thinking of requiring a new reg be installed after hydro or it would be nice to see the regs being required to get tested. Every issue i have ever seen was reg related.

I hope we never see anything like this again.

Lehigh Valley Paintball

mick May 15, 2009, 6:17:00 PM  

I would like to hear more about your two issues. What specifically happened? We can learn by our mistakes.

Brett May 15, 2009, 8:05:00 PM  

One was a tank that a customer came in to have filled. After my employee filled it and set it on the display case to help the customer with some other stuff. The main thread neck o-ring blew out, the tank flow from the counter hit our grid wall, then back to the counter, then back to the wall, then came to rest on the floor. After looking over the tank we decided that the reg was not completely seated, which allowed the o-ring to blow out. After that happen we went over proper inspection procedures with all our employees. Luckily the tank did not hit anyone in the store.

The second one was a tank a customer filled at our field at the self fill panels. After he filled his tank and was walking away the same o-ring blew out, he dropped it and it went flying across the room and hit another kid in the head. Causing serious injuries. Luckily he did make a full recovery after a few weeks. After inspecting that tank we found that the reg was bent at the base of the threads. We don’t know when this happened but we do know the o-ring was the issue again. We now do not let anyone fill tanks unless they are attached to a marker, hoping that it will help weigh it down and give them something to hold on to.

After thinking about it we also had a 3rd one. A customer came in and said his tank was full and no air was coming out. So one of my employees went to loosen the burst disk to bleed out the air slowly and as soon as he put the littlest pressure on the burst disk the neck snapped off and went flying just like in your video. Again we got lucky and only had a very minor injury. The tank hit an employee’s ankle. We still have no reason for what happened to the reg. But it was broke clean just like the one pictured.

In each case our cameras can barely record the accidents, they happen so fast. The one tank went through 6 cameras without being seen at all.

I hope this info can help in some way help to keep this from happening in the future.

Anonymous,  Jun 2, 2009, 6:08:00 PM  

From all appearances, it looks like the regulator broke off just below the body of the reg. It was probably cracked, and was not noticed at the time the hydro-testing facility removed it to hydro the tank.

Look at stuff carefully!

Jeremy Dale Jun 17, 2009, 10:39:00 AM  

The problem is that there is no standards for the paintball industry. Half of the valves on the market now are made in China, who has no oversight like here in the U.S. It's not a hydrotester's job to inspect the valves other than the threads, it's the person who is filling the cylinder who is responsible for vavle inspection. Eventually a few people will be killed and then finally the D.O.T. will step in and regulate like they should have done a long time ago. Gook luck.

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