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Blazing dive-boat sinks – and two diver deaths

Hong Kong dive boat
Dive-boat ablaze off Jin Island, Hong Kong
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Fifteen people have had to be rescued after a Hong Kong dive-boat caught fire south-east of Jin Island.

The vessel sank as those who had been aboard were picked up by a nearby boat and taken to a marine police base.

Jin Island or Tiu Chung Chau lies to the east of Hong Kong and is said to be popular with scuba divers for its underwater topography. The incident occurred yesterday afternoon (15 January). Dive cylinders exploded as the flames spread rapidly through the 23m vessel, and marine police are investigating the cause of the blaze, dramatic footage of which can be seen here.

Nobody is understood to have been injured as a result of the fire, but the past few days have also seen at least two scuba divers die in separate incidents in different parts of the world.

On Friday (14 January) a pediatrician on holiday in Florida died while scuba diving from a dive-boat on the Keys. Dr Kimberly Jean Kilgore, 57, from Juneau, Alaska, was reported to have got into unexplained difficulties at a depth of around 14m. She had been diving with a group at Runway Reef off Islamorada, and lost consciousness on reaching the surface, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. 

Dr Kilgore was brought back onto the Islamorada Dive Centre boat, where the crew called for assistance and carried out CPR, but she was later pronounced dead at the hospital in Tavernier. A post mortem report is pending.

Another scuba diver died in the Canary Islands on Thursday (13 January), after other divers had pulled him unconscious from the water onto the beach at Abades on Tenerife’s south-east coast. The Emergency Services Coordination Centre was alerted around mid-day, but paramedics were unable to revive the man.

16 Jan 22

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