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Death of Moby Dives scuba instructor brings sadness to a community.

Posted by Scuba Herald on Oct 26th, 2008 and filed under Scuba Industry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Death of Moby Dives scuba instructor brings sadness to a community.

Malta. Valerie Bellini’s vacant eyes take in the living room of her home in Xlendi, which was the soul of her family before her husband failed to return from a dive a month ago.

“I’ll be selling everything and returning to France. I have nothing keeping me here now and I don’t have widow status here – a death certificate will only be issued after he’s been missing for 10 years,” she said, her voice tinged with sadness.

Ms Bellini is inconsolable to see the dreams she had planned with her husband, Alain, slip from her grasp. The couple had sold all their belongings in Burgundy, France, and moved to the sleepy Gozitan village in March.

“Life is not the same without Alain. I have to start from scratch now… Some friends offered me the chance to stay with them for a while,” she added.

The couple, who have six children from previous marriages, were happily settled in Xlendi’s tight-knit community with her three children and their four-month-old daughter.

Everything changed on September 20 when Mr Bellini, a scuba diving instructor with Moby Dives in Xlendi, put on his kit, plunged into the murky depths at about 2.30 p.m. and never made it for the appointment with his wife at 5 p.m.

The body of the 44-year-old was never found and his wife believes he could be stuck in one of the caves which dot the seabed: “They say the caves down there are like Swiss cheese”.

Mr Bellini, who had been in the job for 26 years and has done some 8,000 dives, was an experienced cave diver and everybody was shocked when they heard the news of his disappearance.

Closure is impossible for the family but Ms Bellini is still hopeful her husband’s body will be found. Mr Bellini’s friends and former colleagues from the Cave Diving Emergency Camp have this week started raising money to fly to Gozo and resume the search in the caves.

The French divers were previously planning to visit three weeks ago but financial constraints meant the trip had to be cancelled.

Ms Bellini said she is more determined to find her husband’s body after an article appeared in a Maltese newspaper under the headline Drowned Or Fled?

The article quoted police sources saying Mr Bellini had sent an e-mail to his son, from a previous marriage, one hour after he had been reported missing.

Stunned by such “a preposterous rumour”, his wife said the police had informed her that the time on the computer which Mr Bellini had used was wrong.

“I am so furious. Alain had sent an e-mail at about 9.49 a.m. on the Thursday but it registered 6 p.m. because the time was wrong. Any suspicions were thrown out when his son replied on Friday and they saw the correct time of Alain’s original message,” she explained.

“The police have assured me they never relayed such information and I’m so angry with what’s happening.

“The police have his identity card, passport and all his documents in their possession and I have his diving instructor permits and credit cards. His dream was to settle here and we were very happy.”

The police would not deny or confirm anything and questions sent by The Times remained unanswered. The police would only say: “A magisterial inquiry is still in progress in connection with the mentioned case, therefore it is not prudent to comment”.

Ms Bellini is trying to calm her nerves by focusing her energy on the new search. She hopes her husband’s friends manage to raise the €6,000 needed to pay for the cave explorers to fly to Gozo with their equipment. In one morning over €500 were raised and if all his friends donate €10, the sum will be met.

“I pray the search will be successful,” Ms Bellini said.

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