Monday, 26 May 2008

Rescued Divers Not Making Many Friends

Seven helicopters, three planes and six boats managed to rescue two divers who had gone missing on the Great Barrier Reef on Friday.
How the couple, both experienced divers, became separated from their charter boat and were rescued in an intensive air-sea search operation after floating for 19 hours is being debated.
They blame the dive crew for failing to spot them when they resurfaced 200 yards away from the boat and of being negligent in their own search for them.
The diving crew state that the pair not only ignored safety advice to stay with the diving group but they had 22 people standing on the boats roof looking for them with binoculars and there was no way they came up anywhere near the boat. A happy ending regardless of who was at fault.
Now it gets murky because within hours of being scooped from shark-infested waters, the pair had set themselves up with an agent, a tabloid deal, US and British TV interview deals and a possible book and film deal earning them an estimated £500,000.
Understandably, this has not gone down very well in Australia with Queensland's Premier, Anna Bligh, saying that the hunt for the pair had been an expensive operation and there had been an "extraordinary rescue effort gone into keeping them safe and if they are going to profit from their story, I don't think a contribution back would go astray. It would be a very welcome gesture."
As the rescue service is community funded and relies on public donations and sponsorship, you would think it is the very least they could do.
The couples agent replied to criticism by stating that "They have personal insurance polices and that the holiday company they booked the tour with was also fully covered so if there's any rescue costs to be paid, the insurance companies will pay them."
Police are investigating the incident and i don't have any problem with them making some money out of a life threatening incident but to have set yourself up with an agent and negotiate a fee for your story before your wet-suit is even dry is very tacky and ethically shaky.
There is a split of opinion over whether the couple should contribute anything to their rescue after all, the insurance will cover any costs but i think that if they are making money from this, they should be handing over a very generous donation to the people who saved their lives, and i mean a VERY generous donation.

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