Deadly end to ocean dive

CONDITIONS were perfect last Friday when veteran divers, Mike Fraser and his diving partner of 10 years, Dr Allan Connell, disembarked for a recreational dive just off Scottburgh.

“I drifted deeper into the reef we were exploring at a depth of 45 metres. When I eventually looked at the timer, I saw it was time for us to surface. I then realised that Allan and I had become separated,” said Mike.

As Mike slowly surfaced and eventually breached, he realised that Allan had not yet surfaced. Making his way towards the surface marker buoy onto which both of them had hooked, Mike tugged on Allan’s line.

“I pulled on the line and when I felt the resistance, I knew that the worst had happened,” he said.

An experienced diver, Mike was aware that he had to wait for a time before being  able to safely descend once again.

“I got onto the boat and contacted the Park Rynie Ski-boat Club controller Mike Bruin and informed him that we might have a possible situation,” said Mike. Paramedics and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife were also contacted.

By this time Mike was ready to re-submerge. “I found him at the bottom of the ocean, in a sitting position,” said a visibly distraught Mike.

Mike managed to bring Allan’s body to the surface, where Ezemvelo officers assisted in getting him onto the dive boat.

Once ashore,  paramedics attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.

Mike added that he was quote mystified at what could have lead to his friend’s death. “Nothing appeared wrong – Allan hadn’t run out of oxygen and did not appear to have experienced any form of difficulty,” he said.

“He was quite fit for a man of 73 and with some 30 years’ diving experience. However,  I know this is how he would have preferred to go – doing what he loved, what was his passion.”

“Scottburgh SAPS has registered an inquest docket to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. The body has been removed to the Park Rynie State Mortuary. His diving equipment will be examined to see if it could provide any clues as to what may have contributed to his death. He did not sustain any visible injuries,” said Scottburgh SAPS communications officer, Captain Vincent Pandarum.


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Juan Venter

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