Outdoor World

The scuba dive that crushed my spine

Emily Image copyright Rich Osborn

It had been well-planned – a deep dive for four experienced scuba diving teachers. But halfway through the session, two compressed air tanks ran out, setting off a catastrophic chain of events.

The sky was blue over Cyprus. It was a rare day off for friends Rich, Paul, Emily and Andy and they decided to take advantage of the crystal blue water and search for nudibranchs, a type of ocean slug.

They launched a boat from the shore, anchored it and dived into the sea one-by-one, use their fins to propel themselves downwards into the deeper, darker, water.

They carried on to depth of 40m – 10 m deeper than the instructors would take their clients.

They were young and wanted to “push the limits”, Rich Osborn, then 21, admits. But they were experienced and well-practised at this level.

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