Gabe Watson ‘could have pressed button to float Tina to surface’ murder trial hears

Posted: 02/22/2012 in all marine news

Tuck Thompson – 

Gabe Watson’s diving buddy Michael Moore told a jury today he and Watson practised rescuing distressed and unconscious divers as part of their rescue certification course.

Mr Moore said he and Watson did open water dives in Florida and Mexico together, where they made drift dives in brisk current, dove to a depth of 50 metres and stuggled with visibility of less than a metre.

Watson, a 34-year-old bubble wrap salesman, is accused of murdering his bride of 11 days, Tina Thomas, during a Townsville wreck dive in 2003.

Watson’s lawyer, Brett Bloomston, claims Watson wasn’t experienced enough to cope when his wife panicked.

Prosecutors say Tina was killed in a scheme hatched in Alabama to collect a small fortune in life and travel insurance.

Mr Moore’s testimony didn’t help the credibility of his childhood friend: Jurors have heard an interview where Watson told Queensland Police he had not been trained to bring anyone to the surface in his rescue course.

Watson had obtained four diving certifications – open water, advanced, rescue and specialty spearfishing – about four years before Tina’s fatal dive on the SS Yongala.

Mr Moore said he and Watson did an accelerated course over a full Saturday with dive instructor Tom Jackson in an Alabama quarry learning how to search for missing divers and how to rescue them.

“Tom played the part of a distressed diver, moving his hands panicking and we assisted him,” he said.

“We had to go and get a diver sitting on the bottom and inflate their BC (bouyancy vest) to get them. Gabe and I did it to each other.”

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