Rescued Divers’ Heroes or Fools?

May 29, 2008

Remember I talked about the furore created by the 2 scuba divers who came up 200m away from their dive site and were then ‘lost’ at sea for 19hrs – and all the fuss and fanfare that’s gone on since?

Well, it’s not over yet. I picked this up from News.com.au and was written by an irate citizen,Larissa Cummings:

“It’s hard not to be cynical when comparing the plight of the hard-working majority – those who consider nabbing a seat on the train each morning an extreme sport – with those lucky rescued divers Richard Neely and Allyson Dalton.”

For the simple feat of “surviving” their extreme sport – which also happens to be their job – the couple has been showered with lucrative publishing deals, while the rest of us who live safely and quietly are struggling to afford a holiday. ” So says Larissa.

But the rumbles have seeped through all walks of society.

President of the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association Gary Raymond is worried about the message it sends when people are able to make money from their “acts of stupidity”.

“It makes them out to be survivor heroes, but if they don’t obey the rules of their sport they are just survivor fools,” he said.

“It should be mandatory for people who do extreme activities to have insurance and, if they don’t, they should pay the cost of the rescue.” (A good point I think – my comment)

Mr Raymond said it would send a more preventative message if Neely and Dalton donated all of the money from their story to the rescue associations that saved their lives.

“These sports have rules for a reason. Like the caver (Geoff McDonnell, who got stuck in the Wombeyan Caves) a few weeks ago, these people broke the rules. The chance of the casualty rate rising after that is huge because we have to go into the same environment in which they got themselves into trouble,” he said.

Geoff McDonnell, a diabetic man, was trapped for two days in the Wombeyan Caves in the New South Wales southern highlands. Although an experienced caver, McDonnell went into a remote cave alone on Friday evening to take photographs. At 7:00pm he became trapped after a rock fall. The alarm was raised by other cavers on Saturday morning and he was located at about 9pm on Sunday night by rescue workers. This team was made up of about 30 people, including members of the South Coast Rescue Squad, Binalong Rescue Squad and NSW Police.

Mr McDonnell says the emergency crews saved his life.

He now says his solo caving days are over.

So – back to the subject of insurance. It makes senses doesn’t it? You’re voluntarily participating in an extreme sport – so why take a foolhardy risk by not protecting yourself against an accident… Think of it as an unselfish act. By protecting yourself you are also ensuring that rescue services get paid for the time, effort, and the expertise they give you when coming to your aid.



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  2. I read your comments about participants in extreme sports needing to have insurance to cover the costs of rescue efforts. I completely agree that this should be done: it is bad enough to (potentially) expect rescuers to put their lives on the line for a rescue, but it is unacceptable to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for rescues of people who have taken foolish risks.

    No doubt you have read “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. I have and was completely turned off by his lack of consideration for his family and others…given his conduct before he got trapped, it was a matter of time before he was injured or killed in some extreme situation, probably entailing a dangerous rescue. There are quite serious moral issues at stake here…

    Of course there is no way to force people to do this, but it should become ingrained in the ethics of these sports that, in participating, you must not place rescuers at undue risk and you should be in a position to pay for rescue costs. That would be expensive and put quite a few people off, but so be it.

  3. […] Rescued Divers’ Heroes or Fools?Remember I talked about the furore created by the 2 scuba divers who came up 200m away from their dive site and were then ‘lost’ at sea for 19hrs – and all the fuss and fanfare that’s gone on since? Well, it’s not over yet. … […]

  4. dont they all have insurance, isn’t that a requirement for the safety or there careers and families. Common Sense?

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