A DEEP sea diver has been left with breasts and Popeye-like arms after his air supply was severed by a passing ship.
Alejandro Ramos, nicknamed Willy, from Pisco, Peru, was diving for shell fish four years ago when a cargo ship cut his air hose.
The 56-year-old returned to the surface too quickly following the accident and he has been diagnosed with nitrogen bubbles lodged in his fatty tissue.
Willy has told how he “lost all his senses” in the terrifying accident which has left him suicidal.
He said: “I was working at a depth of around 19 fathoms. A cargo ship was coming it went over my air hose and cut my air hose in two.
“I knew I had to surface fast I couldn’t stay any longer.
“I let go of my lead belt. I got pushed up like a bullet. I started to lose all my senses.
“I opened my eyes everything was blurry.”
The hose was the father-of-two’s only source of compressed air and he couldn’t breathe.
Amazingly Willy survived, but his body ballooned, leaving his entire upper torso swollen and misshapen.
He gained 30kg in weight and also suffers with pain in his chest and hips.
Willy 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?”
Willy’s sister, Mary, added: “People ask questions, kids too. They come up when he is sat down and touch him and grab his swollen shoulders.
“They laugh and say ‘look it’s Popeye.’”
Willy has been convinced for four years that his swollen body is due to the accident – a theory which doctors have never been able to verify.
But the former diver recently travelled to Naval Hospital in Lima to meet with Dr Raul Aguado, a specialist in Hyperbaric and underwater medicine.
Dr Aguado measured Willy’s arms at 74 centimetres each and his chest at 135 centimetres.
The specialist has regularly treated patients who have been in diving accidents, commonly with “the Bends” – when divers return to the surface too quickly, not allowing nitrogen enough time to leave the body.
Instead the gas transforms and is released as bubbles.
These bubbles can block blood vessels and get trapped in joints causing pain and swelling.
The Bends is usually treated by breathing oxygen in a presurissed vessel, such as a hyperbaric chamber.
Unfortunately this treatment has never worked for Willy.
Dr Aguado said: “I’ve never seen a case like Alejandro’s before.
“I’ve seen patients who’ve had subaquatic illnesses and arrived completely swollen but with the hyperbaric chamber these have disappeared in one to three hours.”
After examining Willy’s blood and tissue, Dr Aguado confirmed that Willy does have nitrogen bubbles lodged in his fatty tissue.
Following his long-awaited diagnosis, he can now 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.”