Stranded scuba diver swims to shore

09 December 2016 08:06

A scuba diver became separated from his boat

A scuba diver became separated from his boat

A scuba diver swam some 16 kilometres to shore after becoming stranded from his boat off the coast of Western Australia in what one rescuer hailed an amazing tale of survival.

The diver couldn't find his boat after coming to the surface of the Indian Ocean during the trip to the African Reef off the Geraldton coast.

A broken anchor cast the boat adrift, leaving the 46-year-old diver to spend eight hours in the water. The incident is a reminder of how important it is to arrange specialist watersports travel insurance.

He had been diving with another man, who was able to find the boat when he resurfaced.

The lucky diver who had found the boat raised the alarm about his stranded partner, and the marine rescue team launched a mission to find the man, with the search aided by three cray boats and the maritime training college.

Though the stranded diver was wearing a buoyancy jacket adorned with a reflective strip, rough, choppy seas made him difficult to find. Matters were further complicated by the fact the diver didn't have either a torch or a strobe.

Rescue spokesman Ian Beard said the team had "gone past him, apparently, on a number of occasions" adding that it was "like trying to find a needle in a haystack".

Miraculously the diver spotted torch lights on the shore and was able to use them to swim to safety. He was found by his family and other rescuers on the beach in the early hours of the morning before being taken to hospital.

Mr Beard hailed it an amazing tale of survival, but warned that the divers' boat was not appropriate for the conditions and had no operating radio.

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