It had been well-planned – a deep nose-dive for four experienced scuba diving teachers. But halfway through the session, two compressed air containers ranged out, preparing off a cataclysmic chain of events.
The sky was blue over Cyprus. It was a uncommon day off for acquaintances Rich, Paul, Emily and Andy and they choose to take advantage of the crystal blue-blooded liquid and search for nudibranchs, a type of sea slug.
They launched a boat from the coast, fixed it and dived into the sea one-by-one, employing their fins to propel themselves downwards into the deeper, darker, liquid.
They carried on to depth of 40m – 10 m deeper than their teachers would take their clients.
They were young and wanted to “push the limits”, Rich Osborn, then 21, admits. But the latter are experienced and well-practised at this level.
As they started to explore their encloses, two of the group unexpectedly signalled to the others that their tanks had run dry.
Osborn seemed “absolute surprise” at this switch of episode. But they were trained for such contingencies. There was unnecessary to anxiety.
The divers exploited side signals and underwater slates and pencils to write documents and arranged to share the remaining two cisterns of air “breath for breath” as they ascended to the surface.
The quartet started to rise gradually, but at 30 m, cold feeling embroiled through them.
They had all run out of air.
“We were furiously trying to sign to each other, scribbling down greenbacks, thoughts and schedules. From there you get a little bit panicked – a mix of fear and the unknown.”
The group had a decision to oblige – drown, or rocket to the surface and risk decompression sickness.
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