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Experienced diver dies while doing underwater photography

Investigators cannot explain why the experienced Scottish diver was alone at such depths in Ċirkewwa. Photo: Jason Borg

Investigators cannot explain why the experienced Scottish diver was alone at such depths in Ċirkewwa. Photo: Jason Borg

The lifeless body of a 57-year-old Scottish diver was found floating off Ċirkewwa at about 2.15 p.m. yesterday.

Dennis O’Hare, a very experienced diver who had been in the area before, was in the water alone taking pictures of the wreck of the P29 patrol boat, a very popular site. He is known to have been there at about 1 p.m.

His body was seen floating at around 2.15 p.m. some 50 metres off the Ċirkewwa breakwater by three fishermen who went to his aid but found he was not breathing and so called in the authorities.

Eventually, he was brought ashore by two divers from the Civil Protection Department as a crowd, mostly made up of fellow divers, gathered on the quay.

It is unclear why such an experienced diver was alone at a depth of 41 metres, a safety no-no that is stressed repeatedly in the industry.

Sources close to the investigation pointed to the fact the diver, a burly man, carried a 12-litre cylinder, which could provide a limited supply considering the man’s build and the depth of the dive.

Even though the cause of death remains to be established, the sources pointed out the presence of blood in his mask and the fact that his oxygen tank was empty suggested he ascended quickly after having exhausted his air supply. A fast ascent makes nitrogen bubbles in the blood expand to the point where they can burst veins and arteries.

The CPD said Mr O’Hare was still carrying all the equipment on him when his corpse was pulled him out of the water. There did not appear to be any spare oxygen tanks.

The Ċirkewwa area is frequented by divers daily due to the attractive sites including the Rożi tugboat, the P29 patrol boat and the Ċirkewwa arch.

The CPD operation was led by Patrick Murgo.

A magisterial inquiry has been opened. An autopsy will be carried out today.

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