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Witness Claims Rescued Divers at Blame

It appears I was wrong, the two divers recently rescued off the Queensland coast were responsible for getting themselves stranded says a fellow tourist on the diving trip:

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Attention has now turned to the dive company, with police and the Office of Workplace Health and Safety announcing they will conduct a routine investigation into how the dive trip almost ended in tragedy.

But a British tourist who was on the boat has described Mr Neely, 38, and Ms Dalton, 40, as “their own worst enemies” and defended the boat operators against claims they waited too long before alerting authorities to the couple’s disappearance.

Matt Cawkwell, 28, said Mr Neely and Ms Dalton were told not to move out of the lagoon in which the dive boat was moored, but did so anyway.

“They took it upon themselves to venture further afield and that’s how they ended up being caught in the current and that’s how they ended up being lost,” he told The Age last night.

“Everybody else got back. Less experienced divers who were doing the same thing realised what was happening and managed to make it back, these people didn’t.”

Mr Cawkwell said claims by the couple that they surfaced 200 metres from the dive boat but were unable to attract the attention of the 18 people on board were unlikely to be true.

“They say they came up 200 metres away, but it’s just wrong,” he said. “We don’t know exactly where they came up, but there were enough eyes on that boat to have seen anyone within 1000 metres — easily.”

Mr Cawkwell took exception to claims that the boat operators waited three hours before contacting the emergency services.

“That’s not correct, it was a much shorter time than that,” he said. “They went at 2pm and they weren’t due back ’til 3pm, and there is no way it was phoned in after 6pm — that’s just totally inaccurate.

“It just seems that everyone’s saying the company were responsible, when I think the responsibility lies with the two people who took it … (upon) themselves to do literally what they wanted and disregarded everything else.

“They couldn’t wait to get back in the water, even though they should have waited longer.”  [The Age]

It is pretty amazing that these two are going to be given $1.1 million dollars to sell their story to the Daily Mirror when it appears they were responsible for getting themselves lost.  If they got themselves lost then they should pay for the rescue operation.

Their agent (if you believe it that they already have an agent)  is the same agent that brokered the interview Tania Zaetta did with Channel 9 after her Australian soldier sex scandal.  He claims that the couple’s insurance will pay for the cost of the rescue.

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