THEY are two deep sea diving pals sharing a joke on a North Sea oil rig.
But shortly after this picture was taken Roy Lucas and Billy Crammond were killed in one of the most horrific accidents the profession has ever seen.
Now Mr Lucas’s daughter, Clare, from Linthwaite, is among a group preparing to sue the Norwegian government in a lawsuit that could run into millions of pounds.
Clare said she was robbed of the chance to get to know the father she had never met.
She said: “My dad’s accident happened 25 years ago, but when an injustice of this scale happens to you time is nothing.”
Daughter’s fight for justice over oil rig explosion
A CAMPAIGNING daughter is fighting the Norwegian government for compensation over the horrific accident that killed her father.
Clare Lucas, of Linthwaite, is ready to do battle in court over the tragic incident which claimed the life of Roy Lucas and four of his colleagues.
The group were killed in an accident on the Byford Dolphin oil rig, in Norwegian-owned North Sea waters, on November 5, 1983.
Now relatives want compensation from the Norwegian government for allowing the men to work in unsafe conditions.
Pay-outs could be as much as £10m per diver if the action is successful.
Clare, 32, who had never met her father, said: “My dad’s accident happened 25 years ago, but when an injustice of this scale happens to you, time is nothing.
“What I’ve discovered lately is unbelievable and not only makes me more angry than I’ve ever felt in my life, but also sick to my very core.
“The Norwegian government turned a convenient blind eye to the activities of the diving company, who seemed willing to destroy the lives of divers and their families, all to provide the Norwegian government with a massive source of income.”
The accident happened when Mr Lucas’s colleague Billy Crammond opened a hatch to the decompression chamber they were working in.
The chamber lost a huge amount of pressure instantaneously, with horrendous results.
Clare, who was eight at the time, said: “It was like someone shaking a bottle of pop and opening the top.
“When the hatch was opened, as quick as a balloon popping, there was a massive explosion.
“Deep sea divers have a mixture of helium and oxygen in their blood which means they can withstand the pressure.
“They were depressurised in an instant and my dad’s internal organs basically exploded.
“Body parts from the man who opened the hatch were found scattered all over the rig.
“Talking to people who saw it is virtually impossible because they have been so traumatised by it and can’t speak about it.
“At the time, the diving company, oil company and the Norwegian government all put it down to human error.
“They wanted the oil and didn’t care about the cost to human life.”
The government has claimed the accident was the result of a mistake by Mr Crammond.
But relatives of the dead believe there were faults with the equipment they were using, including a lack of fail safe locks on some of the clamp openings and a faulty pressure gauge.
Clare is among relatives of seven British divers – who all died between the 1960s and 1980s – hoping to submit formal applications for compensation in the next few weeks.
The families hope to join a class action lawsuit against the government by 24 former divers who claim that they were treated as “human guinea-pigs” by oil companies, by allowing them to work at dangerous depths.
Clare, who now works as a toy product developer, lived with her mother Fran, who died in 1992, sister Heidi, now 38, and brother Stephen, now 34, in Lincoln at the time.
She said: “Mum and dad had divorced before I was born and I never got the chance to meet my dad.
“We had been writing to him and were supposed to be going to visit him in Spain in 1984 to start to get to know him. I had dreamed of meeting him.
“My mum had multiple sclerosis and we basically lived off benefits. Any financial help would have been a godsend.
“We were never given any compensation and were cheated out of the chance to meet our dad.”
Clare only found out last year that the Norwegian government may have been at fault for the death of her father.
She said: “All these years I was under the impression the fault lay with someone else. It never occurred to me that they had something to do with it.
“When I found out it was like I’d been beaten up – I felt battered.
“I can’t stand injustice. This is the sort of thing you read about but you don’t expect to be involved in it. The fact they have got away with it for 25 years is shocking.
“We are fighting the Norwegian government to get them to admit what happened and give us an official apology.”