Briton drowns in scuba diving accident off Australian coast while saving girlfriend’s life

Posted: 01/11/2012 in all marine news

Daily Mail – 

A Briton has drowned in a freak scuba diving accident while saving the life of his girlfriend.

Ex-pat Stephen McNulty, 56, and 45-year-old Vicky Spokes were blown into the ocean by a giant wave as they were looking at underwater coral and marine life in Tasmania.

As the water ‘turned into a giant washing machine,’ Mr McNulty managed to usher Vicky ashore but he disappeared under the water and is believed to have hit his head against a rock.

The father of five, from Burnley, Lancashire, was later pulled out of the sea unconscious but despite attempts by two passersby, police and paramedics to revive him, he died at the scene.

Today Vicky was being comforted by family and friends as tributes were paid to Mr McNulty, who had started a new life in Australia in the Devonport area of Tasmania as a rigger.

She said: ‘Steve was a strong man, physically and mentally, and although I had panicked I would never have thought this would happen. It is a pure tragedy and we are all heartbroken.

‘Steve and I had found a new life here which was just idyllic. He was a character who enjoyed a drink and cigarette but he loved the outdoor life here.

‘We both enjoyed diving and kayaking. It hasn’t sunk in yet that he is gone.’

The tragedy happened on News Years Eve three years after the couple – who met at a pub in Burnley – had moved to the island. He had been an electrician for Norweb.

The couple were on a family holiday in the East Coast of the island when they began the dive around lunchtime at Skeleton Bay near Binalong Bay.

They got into difficulties after being hit by an unexpectedly powerful wave and were propelled into deeper water.

The pair managed to steady themselves when Mr McNulty told Vicky not to panic and float on her back towards the shore.

But when she reached nearby rocks she saw he was lying motionless on his back. A post-mortem examination showed he had drowned following a head injury.

Full story…


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