Diver Darrin Wells battled cramps, seasickness on 8km swim to safety

Posted: 03/24/2012 in all marine news

Katie Robertson – 

A diver who swam 8km to shore after he was separated from his boat off Two Rocks yesterday has told how he battled through violent bouts of vomiting and leg cramps to survive.

Fly-in, fly-out worker Darrin Wells, 47, was fishing with a friend in a boat off the coast yesterday afternoon when he decided to don his scuba gear to see if there were more fish in the depths.

When he resurfaced, he could no longer see the boat.

“After about 10 minutes I saw the boat probably 200 metres away, and the wind had really got quite strong,” the father-of-two told PerthNow today as he recovered at the Newman iron-ore mine where he works as a construction manager.

“I tried to swim towards the boat and I was swallowing a lot of salt water and I really wasn’t going anywhere.

“It was 2pm and I knew the right thing to do would be to stay there close to the boat, but trying to swim against the wind and the waves, every wave was going over my head and I was battling to stay afloat. It wasn’t working.”

Mr Wells, a devotee of extreme sports and a keen marathon runner, decided his best chance at survival was to swim the 8km back to shore.

“I thought if I start swimming now, I’ll be able to get to shore before dark.

If I don’t start swimming now and stay where I am, I’m going to use all my energy and the chance of being found is not very great.”

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