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Bill Jones Instructor & DiveMaster Left Behind
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Alison Dalton & Dick Neely, AP Wire PhotoBRISBANE, Australia:   Dick Neely, 38, and Alison Dalton, 40, spent Friday night (May 24, 2008) with their BCD's inflated at the surface above Australia's Great Barrier Reef.  After surfacing 200 yards from their dive boat, the crew was unable to spot the couple.

Tying their wetsuits together, the British Scuba Instructor and his American DiveMaster girlfriend held each other to share body heat for 19 hours in 75-degree water according to Neely in a paid interview for Great Britain's "Sunday Mirror" newspaper.  The two divers were rescued by helicopter Saturday after an overnight air search.  "Neither of us mentioned the 'S' word", said Neely. 

David Williams, the rescue chopper pilot that winched the couple up from the water, told Australia's "Network Seven" TV news, "They were in very good spirits when they got back".

Neely, originally from Swaffham Norfolk (United Kingdom), has been working as a Scuba Instructor near Phuket Thailand.  Dalton is a DiveMaster from Sacramento California.

Safety standards for recreational dive boat operators on the Great Barrier Reef were tightened in 1998 when a crew from the Queensland-based scuba boat "Outer Edge" accidentally left behind tourists Tom and Eileen Lonergan from Baton Rouge Louisiana.  In August 2004, Lions Gate Films released the movie "Open Water" loosely “based on true events” involving the Lonergan story.  Many believe that the Lonergans drowned, but some insurance investigators are still not sure.

Read More About It:  Review of Open Water, The Movie

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Editor Note:  Bill Jones, The Scuba Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning Writer
 

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