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January 2001 Vol. 16, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Cozumel Catastrophe, Truk Tragedy, Bonaire Mystery

from the January, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

December was a horrible month for traveling divers. Three died in accidents that should have never happened.

British pop singer Kirsty MacColl was killed by a speeding boat after she surfaced from a dive in Cozumel’s Chancanab Park. Moments before she was struck, she pushed her teen-age son out of the path of the boat. The 41-year-old singer-songwriter, sang with the Pogues and wrote Tracy Ullman’s hit song “They Don’t Know.” A spokesman for Papa Hoggs, with whom she was diving, said, “The speedboat was going too fast. It was on top of them almost the instant the divers came up. Kirsty could not get out of the way. She was killed instantly.”

Kimo Cua, president of the MetroWest Dive Club in Framingham, NY, had completed two deep air dives on the San Francisco Maru, in Truk Lagoon, followed by one to 100 feet on the Kiyosumi Maru. Experienced Truk divers have called sections of her “spooky” and “creepy” and Cua’s log from a prior dive at the site mentions disorientation. After being told by a Truk Odyssey divemaster of a locker containing lanterns, he went back solo. He donned double-80s, but did not take a penetration reel. When he failed to return in 30 minutes, divers from the Odyssey began a search, without luck. Divers from the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop found the body the next morning. The lantern locker Cua sought is down a narrow, treacherously silted hallway, with rooms opening above and below. He was found near one of the lower rooms, at 75 feet, BCD removed and in his hand (possibly trying to enter one of the otherwise too small rooms), with 250 psi remaining in the tanks.

Diving off the beach of Bonaire’s Harbour Beach hotel, a diver flat out disappeared. He and his girlfriend checked in at the dive shop, got briefed, and geared up. The woman felt ill and begged off the dive, asking her boyfriend to scrub it as well. He went ahead and soon surfaced just offshore, showing no panic, but pointing downward. When he didn’t return, 45 minutes later she contacted the shop, which sent out two teams of divers, one swimming northward from where he was last seen, the other southward. Others joined the search, which eventually included helicopters. The diver was never seen again.

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