Monk in Thailand Blog

Adrift for 19 hours... Hang on, I know him!

Yesterday I caught something on the news about 2 divers being rescued in Australia after floating for 19 hours. This is a very rare event. I used to get annoyed with the boat staff if I was floating for more than a few minutes! You can never say "It won't happen", but staff on dive boats that I have worked on are very attentive, always know who's in the water and are quick off the mark if anyone does not surface on time (normally because they want a longer dive).

It can happen of course. The movie "Open Water" was (vaguely) based on real events - divers being left behind by a dive boat. In the case that inspired that movie, the 2 divers were never found.

The news I saw about 2 divers being found after floating for 19 hours didn't seem that interesting. They were found, after all. But then today I was browsing and saw the name of one of the divers, Mr Richard Neely. Hang on, I know him! Rich has been in Phuket for a number of years working as a dive instructor and tour leader on dive boats - not the kind of person you'd expect to go missing on a dive! And it's not the first time he's had to float. In 2005 he was working on a dive boat that sank in the night. All crew and guests were floating for 8 hours before being found, luckily in calm seas.

Rich and Alison

The News

Sunday Mirror
Daily Mail

Seems they sold their story, and why not indeed! But now some people think they should cough up for the rescue...

BBC News

See you back in Phuket, Rich!

UPDATE - a journalist by the name of Andrew Drummond came sniffing around last week, he visited quite a few dive shops and (as I told him) everyone said the same thing, basically that Rich is a very nice guy and a top dive pro:

See here:

Adrift for 19 hours... Hang on, I know him!  |  A Monk in Thailand

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