A British man and his American partner are now in the midst of a bidding storm that is drawing heavy criticism in Australia after their rescue from a diving trip gone bad this weekend:
BRITISH diver Richard Neely and partner Allyson Dalton have been accused of flouting a dive briefing as a $250,000 bidding war broke out for the rights to their miraculous story of survival.
And Mr Neely’s father Stuart, in the UK, said this was the third time his son had cheated death in four years.
He had been caught up in the tsunami that hit Asia on Boxing Day 2004, while working as a diving instructor in Thailand, but escaped his hotel to reach higher ground.
Later his dive boat sank off Thailand and he was forced to tread water for eight hours through the night until he was picked up by another boat.
The Briton and his American girlfriend spent 19 hours adrift in shark-infested waters off Queensland’s Airlie Beach.
The couple’s friend, Danielle Scott-Flanders, denied they had done anything wrong after suggestions they might have ignored a dive safety briefing. [Herald-Sun]
The Australian morning shows were hammering the couple this morning claiming they should pay back the Queensland government for the cost of their rescue if they are looking to profit from it. So far the couple has only made less then $10,000 for the story but it is believed that the American 60 Minutes program is offering $250,000 to air their survival story. I feel that if these two were at fault for getting lost in the first place and are profiting off of their own mistake, then I could understand the government wanting to get reimbursed. However, if the dive company is at fault then I think they have every right to sell their story just like many other survivors of extreme situations have in the past.
Photo of Richard Neely & Allyson Dalton after their rescue.
The media is reporting that these two were highly experienced divers and local officials are crediting their diving knowledge with their ability to survive so long in the open ocean. Judging by this it appears unlikely these two were at fault for being lost out at sea, but who knows. I’m sure we will hear plenty more about this case.