Get ready to change your boring life and discover the best scuba diving intership in Asia. Learn how to become a scuba instructor and get the best career in the world. Discover now how to find the best education, in the most amazing destination...

Vladimir Scuba-Putin “ScubaHerald is a must for any KGB Diver now a days”

Barack Scuba OBAMA “...You know, my faith in ScubaHerald was what help me to win the Presidency...”

Scuba Scam?

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

A British diver’s dramatic account of how he and his girlfriend survived for 19 hours in shark-infested waters was mired in controversy today. Richard Neely, 38, described how he and 40-year-old Alison Dalton had been unable to get back to their boat because of stormy conditions.

But one of the crew on the vessel insisted the sea had been calm.

The conflicting accounts came to light as the couple were told they should help pay for the expensive rescue operation.

There was uproar in Australia when it emerged that within hours of being saved, Mr Neely and Miss Dalton were striking deals which, some reports claimed, could bring them more than £1million.

Critics said they might have been partly to blame for their plight and so should help with the cost of the rescue after they failed to return to their catamaran on the Great Barrier Reef.

The couple have told how, after their dive at the weekend, they surfaced 200 metres from the moored boat, but choppy waters made it impossible for them to swim to it.

They said they had waved, cried out and used whistles and a 6ft long inflatable marker buoy to attract attention, but the stormy conditions meant they could not alert the crew.

They said they began drifting away from the boat which sailed off after about 75 minutes.

Seven helicopters, three planes and six boats were involved in the search operation that cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Eventually, after 19 hours, they were spotted and winched aboard a helicopter. They were released from hospital after a few hours with apparently no serious ill-effects from their ordeal.

They then gave one newspaper interview, for which they were paid several thousand pounds, and have since been closeted with a PR agent to consider magazine and film rights to their story.

The couple have appointed Sydney PR guru Max Markson – who acted for Cherie Blair during a controversial speaking tour of Australia in 2005 – to represent their interests.

But Matt Cawkwell, a crew member on the dive boat Pacific Star, said last night that the sea had not been choppy and visibility was so good that those on board were able to see buoys half a mile away.

‘We spent the entire evening, from around 4pm until it was dark (close to 7pm) searching for them,’ he said. ‘There were 20 people aboard the boat and we had binoculars. We were out scouring the reef.

‘They were saying they were 200 metres from the boat, but that’s just unbelievable. We spent all that evening and all night looking for them.’

Maritime police have begun an investigation that will look into how two experienced divers could have failed to return to their boat

It is understood that during their ordeal, Mr Neely clung on to his underwater camera and took photographs of himself and his American girlfriend in the water as they waited for rescue.

Mr Neely is originally from Swaffham, Norfolk, but is thought to have left Britain about a decade ago and has been working for the past few years as a diving instructor in Thailand.

In a weekend interview he said: ‘I truly thought we were going to die. Sharks were on our mind the entire time – but neither of us mentioned the “S” word. We just had to stay positive and calm to help each other through the ordeal and not think about being eaten alive.’

He said he and Miss Dalton signalled their boat but despite their whistles and frantic waving they were not seen. Then the wind and waves got up and took them away from the reef.

He said they tied themselves together and huddled in their wetsuits awaiting rescue.

He said: ‘I told her we were were going to get very, very cold and we just had to be superstrong and I convinced Ali we could survive.’

On learning that Mr Neely and Miss Dalton had employed an agent to sell their story, Queensland premier Anna Bligh said they were under a moral obligation to contribute to the rescue costs.

‘I should say that there’s been an extraordinary rescue effort gone into keeping them safe,’ she said. ‘If they are going to profit from their story, I don’t think a contribution back would go astray.’

More Scuba Diving News

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled