Scuba Diver/Helicopter

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Scuba Diver and Car Capers"

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Scuba divers have valid reasons to worry about oxygen tanks gone awry, hungry sharks and other potential deep-sea disasters. But how about being sucked out of the water by a firefighting helicopter and dumped into a forest blaze? In the late '80s, an urban myth surfaced about a similar scuba diving fluke accident, and since then, it has circulated around the Internet and made its way into movie and book plots in various iterations.

To extinguish this far-fetched scuba scenario, MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage first tracked down a firefighter helicopter, which siphons water from the tops of lakes and oceans and then hoses it onto wildfires. Unconvinced that a firefighting helicopter's standard 120-gallon (.45-kiloliter) water bucket is large enough to suck up a scuba diver, Jamie and Adam constructed their own propeller-powered MythBusters bucket capable of sucking in 3,000 gallons (11.4 kiloliters) of water per minute.

Instead of attaching it to a helicopter, the MythBusters suspended the water pump from a crane and tested it out in a swimming pool. But the firefighter bucket failed to scoop their scuba diver dummy successfully out of the pool. Once the bucket emerged from the water, it immediately lost its suction strength and dropped the dummy.

For that reason, the busted scuba diving myth can only float in fiction.

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