Oh no – not again.
Yesterday police launched an investigation to find out why the captain of The Pacific Star dive boat delayed notifying officials that two scuba divers were missing.
The two divers, Briton Richard Neely 38 and American Alison Dalton 40, started their dive after lunch on Friday afternoon, but were not reported missing until 5.30 p.m. Although the boat and its crew did frantically search the area they did not report it to the police until it was almost too late for an effective air search.
They were scuba diving at Gary’s Lagoon, near Bait Reef.
However, the helicopters did go up but failed to find any sign of the two divers. The divers themselves saw the helicopters several times but were unable to attract their attention. Fortunately, many hours later at 8.40 a.m, the two divers were found. They had strapped themselves together and talked all night to keep themselves awake, aware and warm. The thing that terrified them the most was the thought of sharks.
“I truly thought we were going to die. Sharks were on our mind the entire time – but neither of us mentioned the ‘S’ word,” said Neely. “We just had to stay positive and calm to help each other through the ordeal and not think about being eaten alive.”
But my goodness what a furore since.
Magazines and newspapers having been vying for the rights to the story of their 19 hour ordeal in shark-infested waters, the rescue operators have been suggesting that they should help pay for the cost of their rescue which involved seven helicopters, three fixed-wing [aircraft] and a flotilla of boats on the water and cost an estimated $400,000! Demands have been heard enquiring why 2 experienced divers surfaced 200m from their dive site. And suggestions of a movie-in-the-making are doing the rounds!
Wow. How to turn adversity into profit…
However, it is hauntingly similar to the scuba diving accident at the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 which I talked about several weeks ago. Husband and wife buddies, Thomas and Eileen Lonergan, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were left at sea by the MV Outer Edge dive boat, and did not survive the ordeal.
But a movie was made out of that too!