2008
05.25

From The Sunday Mirror:

“A British holidaymaker told yesterday how he and his girlfriend survived 19 hours in shark-infested waters after a diving trip went horrifically wrong.

Richard Neely, 38, and partner Alison Dalton, 40, drifted for nearly a day off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as rescuers failed to spot them waving frantically.

They tied themselves to each other in their wetsuits and, huddling together for warmth, they drifted for NINE MILES after surfacing too far from the boat they had dived off.

Richard said the inspiration for his idea to share his body heat with his girlfriend was former SAS soldier Andy McNab’s book Bravo 2 Zero. He improvised by using a six-metre length of rope from his marker buoy – used by divers to signal the point at which they have gone underwater – doubled over, to tie himself and Alison together. At that point they jettisoned oxygen tanks and water belts to make themselves lighter and enable them to “fin” – a streamlined form of swimming.

Every half an hour, they huddled together, wrapping their legs around each other and pressing their stomachs together for warmth through their wetsuits. Alison, in particular, was feeling desperately cold.

But the strong tie meant they could not drift further than three metres apart throughout the night, shouting out to each other to make sure the other was awake.”

Read the full article here

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