Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
Home Contact Me Sydney Reef Dive Sites Sydney Shipwrecks NSW Dive Sites Australian Dive Sites Overseas Dive Sites Dive Accidents and Incidents Our Yachting Adventures 4WD Trips Weather Search 14 December 2017 11:41
Navigation
Home

General
About Me
My Diving
FAQ
Downloads
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
Our Dive Boat - Mak Cat
Our Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
Our Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about our yacht, Catlypso and our Our Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • Our Yachting Adventures.
  • Login
    Username

    Password



    Forgotten your password?
    Request a new one here.
    Michael and Kelly's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of our Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Current Kareela Weather
    A summary of the current weather conditions at our house at Kareela, Sydney, is below. Click here for more Detailed Diving Weather and Conditions. Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station


    Conditions at
    23:49 on 23/1/17

     
    Temperature 25.6°C
    Humidity 65.0%
    Barometer 1003.4hPa
    Rate -0.3hPa/hr
    Wind Speed: 0 km/hr
    Wind Direction S
    Rainfall for Today 0.0mm
    Rainfall last hour 0.0 mm
    Rainfall last 24 hours 0.0 mm
    Rainfall at Start of Month 814.6 mm
    Rainfall this Year 827.0 mm
    Today's Extremes
    High Temperature 31.2°C at 15:48
    Low Temperature 20.9°C at 6:27
    Peak Wind Gust 0km/hr at 0:00
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Kirrawee Weather Station
    Yesterday's Extremes
    High Temperature 27.5°C at 17:11
    Low Temperature 19.8°C at 6:29
    Rainfall at Start of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Rainfall at End of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station
    Astronomical Data
    Sunrise 5:06
    Sunset 19:05
    Moonrise 1:09
    Moonset 15:04

    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "If you are very fit, you can shore dive the grey nurse sharks at Magic Point"
    Tina Watson Death - Part 2 - First Aborted Dive and the Fatal Dive

    Click here for the first part of this article.

    DIVE ONE

    Note: The primary source for the following description of Gabe and Tina's dives are Gabe's two statements and four interviews (three to the Police and his sworn oral deposition in the travel insurance civil claim). Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter. Where relevant, additional information has been taken from other people's statements to Police and their evidence given at the Coroner's Inquest. I am also using data from Gabe and Wade's dive computers. I have a lot more information about the dives and this will be given in other sections such as Police Investigations and Coroner's Inquest.

    I am not absolutely certain who went in each group but I think the following occurred.

    A number of groups went from Spoilsport in tenders [a small rubber duck] to DAP2. This seems to have started perhaps about 9:30 am. The first group appears to have been David Robinson and Frenchman Pierre Mayer. Craig Haslet [the engineer] drove the first tender (Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter) and Bruce Eddings the second one, although it seems that Eddings only transported the commercial divers to and from the moorings that they were servicing till after Gabe ascended.

    The second group taken to the DAP was probably Ken and Paula Snyder and Doug and Ginger Milsap together with Stuart Eathorne. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter. It is implied in the Inquest transcript that another diver called Karen dived with them, but I suspect that the word "Karen" was transcribed for "Ken". Haslet says in his statement that there were 6 divers on this trip. They left the Spoilsport at 9:40 am. He waited there till they all descended, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    At first I thought that Gabe and Tina were transported by Craig Haslet at about 9:30 am to DAP2 but I now think it must have been a fair bit later based on the above facts. I suspect that it was more like 10:05 or 10:10 am, although the divers' log shows 10:15 am.

    When Haslet went back out again, he had Gabe and Tina on board and there were 6 other divers as well. I think that they were Andrew and Adriana Sherman and their adult daughters, Jamie and Jacqueline. They were from the US, although living in Guatemala. I also think Michael Lawton from South Africa and Dr John Downie from the US were on this trip as well. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter.

    After entering the water, one of the Sherman daughters and Mrs Sherman had weight problems and resurfaced. They got additional weights from Haslet before they could descend. Lawton later stated that Downie said to him that Tina was panicky when descending and pushed him down although Downie does not appear to have ever put this in any statement he has given to the Police and he did not appear at the Inquest. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter.

    After entering the water and descending only a metre or two, Gabe said his computer started beeping. In the transcript of interview with the Police, he stated that "my computer beeped at me um you know 'gas alarm' which is basically it's not, means it's not registering with the cylinder, either you know out of air,". Jacqueline Sherman, who was on the surface getting additional weights, said "Gabe told the crew [Haslet] that his computer wasn't recording the air in his tanks". Her father Andrew also heard and stated something similar.

    Haslet also said in his statement that Gabe "...had trouble with his dive computer. The dive computer has a sensor for the pressure that is in the dive tank. The first stage regulator has a computer sensor that emits a signal to the dive computer that was worn on one of his wrists and it tells the pressure that is in the dive tank".

    Comment: For non-divers, a dive computer is like a complex watch that measures not only time and depth, but gives an indication of how long you can spend at your current depth (so not as to get the Bends) and warns if you stay too long and if you are ascending too quickly. Most now (even in 2003) also record in memory every few seconds things like depth, water temperature etc. Nowadays these can virtually all be downloaded to a personal computer and viewed using special software, but back in 2003 only the better ones could be downloaded. Some also record and show the amount of air remaining in your tank, either by a wireless transmitter or by a direct hose link. Gabe had a wireless transmitter pressure gauge rather than the normal hose connected gauge. This comment by Gabe has disturbed me a bit, no, a lot, in that he is indicating to the Police that it is not solely the computer itself that is malfunctioning, but the connection between the wireless tank pressure transmitter and the computer. This is the comment that started me doubting his guilt of deliberately murdering Tina.

    Gabe and Tina climbed back on the tender and were taken back to Spoilsport. Haslet was to say that "They were both very relaxed in the boat".

    BowBow
    The hang tank at the bow diver access point (DAP)
    The dirty rope at left leads to the bow
    The line from the diver access point (DAP) to the bow of the wreck

    Gabe later complained that the current was too strong. While others dispute this, many agreed.

    Comment: See heading above called "Currents (General)".

    I should advise that this is something I have seen before - Americans claiming that a slight current was so strong as to be dangerous. I suspect that this is because so many have no experience at all in diving in currents and because most either only dive in lakes or quarries (if they dive at all at home) or only dive in tropical locations where it is normally very easy and there is no current.

    Once back on board they put their tanks in the racks and David Lemsing (Spoilsport's First Mate) topped up their tanks (as per his statement of 22 October 2003), although in a later Addendum Statement of Witness dated 20 August 2004 he stated he did not know who topped up the tanks. It has also been stated that at this time Tina got some additional weights. However, I cannot find any person who actually witnessed and stated this and in fact, one, Uzi Barnai, says he did not see this. Louise Johnstone, the volunteer deckhand, in a second statement dated 19 August 2005 stated that "Brian told me that they had weighted her up some more because she could not descend". Lemsing said in his second statement that Tina asked for more weight and he pointed out where they were stored. However, he did not see her get any. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter.

    Presumably "Brian" was Brian Fotheringham. His only comment about weights relating to Tina and Gabe was in a statement made 23 November 2004 where he said "I do not recall being present or assisting in their preparation to dive. This includes their weights...". Therefore, it appears that "Brian" could not have said anything to Louise Johnstone about weights. Therefore, there is no evidence Tina added any weights to her pockets. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter.

    When Haslet brought Gabe and Tina back, he then went out again with John and Tina Graves, Americans from Colorado but later living in Sydney. Also on board were Greg Mickle [US], Seth Lenkiewicz [US], Tom Harris [US] and Simon Smith (Spoilsport dive master - a New Zealander).

    Louise Johnstone said that Gabe and Tina were both red in the face and had wide glazed eyes [the inquest transcript actually says "grazed"]. She said they "looked like what I would ... assess a panicked diver to look like underwater, they - out of breath and, you know, just not very comfortable at all". No-one else commented on this and Haslet specifically said "they were both very relaxed in the boat" on the way back [it is possible that they were red due to the effort of getting back into the small tender].

    Gabe stated in his interviews and statements that he asked one of the crew, Uzi Barnai, for a coin and he opened the battery compartment, removed the battery, reinserted it back in the opposite way and closed it up. The computer then worked he said. Lemsing said in an addendum to his statement dated 20 August 2004 that Gabe said "the battery was flat" but did not detail which battery.

    Comment: It is not clear from the transcript of interview if this was the computer battery or the tank transmitter battery, but I had always assumed from the media reports that it was the computer. However, I now believe that he was referring to the transmitter battery. Gabe never clearly told Police in his interviews or statements which part he actually checked. As mentioned in part one, the batteries in each of the two parts that make up the computer are required to be inserted in different directions so that the battery polarity is opposite in one compared to the other - a very strange design.

    This was confirmed by Gabe's American lawyer, Brett Bloomston, in interviews with the media over the period 10 to 12 November 2010. It is certain that he in fact removed both the computer battery and the transmitter battery as I will later explain (the evidence for this is overwhelming and was not understood by Police or even an "expert").

    Gabe stated that they were on the Spoilsport for about 10 to 15 minutes and this was confirmed by David Lemsing in his statement and Gabe's computer tends to back this up.

    Comment: It was probably a little more than this, but not too much. When the Workplace Health and Safety department downloaded the data from his computer, it showed that he did only go down a metre or so. However, it seems that the software that was used to download did not recover a lot of the information that I would expect to be available and which would have showed exactly what happened and if the computer was indeed faulty when he tried to first descend.

    Tina's computer did not even record a dive, presumably she did not even get to the depth required to activate the recording (4 feet).

    I now know that the Oceanic computer that Gabe used has a similar function to my computer where it shows on its screen when the connection to the tank pressure transmitter has been lost. While this is also visible in the data downloaded from my computer to a PC, it does not seem that this happens with the Oceanic computer. We know that after he reset the battery it was 13 minutes before they re-entered the water.

    Around this time the boat belonging to the commercial divers on board the Spoilsport, Adrenalin, also arrived and moored to the west of Spoilsport. As I mentioned earlier, they were replacing some of the mooring lines.

    DIVE TWO

    Gabe and Tina got on board the tender being driven by Craig Haslet. Louise Johnstone did not even realise Gabe and Tina had got back in the water. When it went out again there were others on it, including Wade Singleton, the Spoilsport Trip Director, Gary Stempler and his wife Dawn Osana. Claudia Petersen, a volunteer on Spoilsport [she was not a dive master] was also with them.

    Comment: Much was made early in the investigation that the Police believe Gabe lied about the computer not working so that they did not dive with the group they had originally went out with. The Police theory was that he wanted to dive alone with Tina, but this theory has one big fault, they ended up going out with the most experienced person on the boat, Wade Singleton, the trip director.

    They returned to the DAP and Gabe and Tina descended first. This was a good idea as it means the more experienced diver (Gabe) can see the less experienced diver below [much adverse comment has been made by Tina's family and friends that Gabe let Tina descend first]. It would appear that based on the printouts from Wade's computer and other evidence that Gabe and Tina entered the water about 30 seconds before Wade. Working back from when Wade surfaced we know that Gabe and Tina probably entered the water at 10:30:30 am and Wade, Gary and Dawn started their dive at 10:31:00 am.

    Gabe says that Tina went first and they went down the DAP. At some time around now, Michael Lawton and Dr John Downie ascended up this same DAP. In Lawton's statement to the Police, it states that he could see Wade and his group below him as they hit the surface. It is not clear where Gabe and Tina passed them, but I assume that they must have been coming up from the safety stop as Gabe and Tina started their descent.

    Gabe then implies that they went across from the DAP at 10 metres to the top of the wreck (14 metres). This is the depth that the line that runs from the DAP to the bow of the wreck is located. They left the DAP at 10:32:45 am and it took 45 seconds to get to the wreck. They had now taken about 3 minutes to get to 14 metres.

    Comment: This is very slow. By comparison, a dive I did on a wreck in 2011 in strong (0.75 kt) current took me 1.5 minutes to get to 14 metres (and this was at an angle down a shot line and across a line to the anchor and down that).

    It then seems that for the next minute they may have gone along the top of the wreck to the south. It was now 10:34:15 am and they were about 20 to 30 feet from the DAP line. Gabe says that they only went "20 feet" [but in one spot in the Police interview says 25 to 30 feet and in the first interview said 30 yards - he corrected this in the second interview as it was an error]. He said that they could not see the DAP, so it may have been further than this as the common consensus about visibility was that it was about 10 to 15 metres [although some said 20 metres and others 10 metres].

    Another group of two divers from Spoilsport was taken to the DAP after this by Craig Haslet. I think it was Karin and Robert Lador, a Swiss couple. They stated to the Inquest that when they descended they did not see anyone at all, so they must have descended before the Jazz II divers.

    Back on the wreck, Gabe and Tina were on the top of the wreck [the port gunnel] which is about 14-15 metres (50 feet) deep. They were probably on the rear section of the forecastle, forward of Hold One, but they may have been a bit further. As mentioned, they took about three minutes to get to this depth. They turned around when Tina used her thumb to point back at the DAP line. Tina put out her hand and Gabe took it to assist her along.

    Gabe stated that Tina was dropping down and he let go of her to use his right hand to inflate his BCD. he indicated to Tina to also inflate her BCD.

    Yongala Diagram
    A drawing of the SS Yongala someone sent me
    GT is where I think Gabe and Tina were when she knocked his mask loose
    1 is where Tina was found by Wade
    Other points not relevant at the moment
    Created by me based on the evidence at the Inquest

    Comment: BCD - buoyancy compensator device - the vest that holds your tank and when inflated with air keeps you neutrally buoyant. It has a system that uses air from your tank to inflate the BCD. While I and most others would normally use my left hand to do this, it is not unusual for someone to use their right hand, indeed, I sometimes use my right hand.

    He said Tina appeared to also inflate her BCD [which should have stopped her dropping further] but he was not sure. He says that Tina was still dropping and looked "scared" and he grabbed her BCD and pulled her towards the DAP. I assume that he grabbed her by the shoulder strap.

    Comment: Note this close contact for later. My question is why did he not inflate her BCD when he grabbed her, he was a Rescue Diver! My answer is that he was not experienced enough to use the knowledge this course imparted to him.

    Gabe claimed that at this spot he could see others on the DAP line. It is not clear who they were, but it could have been/must have been Mr and Mrs Lador [I do not believe it was the Jazz II divers - see a few paragraphs below]. Gabe claims that then Tina hit him in the face, knocking his mask sideways so it filled with water. He again let go of her to fix his mask [as you would need to]. He says that after putting his mask back in place and clearing it of water, he discovered his regulator was not in his mouth so he grabbed his octopus [his spare regulator] and used that. This was one that is built into his BCD inflator and would have been the easiest to find. In the Police interview, he stated that when he later washed his regulators [well after Tina's death] he found that the mouthpiece was missing off the normal regulator [I have seen this happen when a reg was knocked out of someone's mouth by a stray kick to the face].

    Yongala Diagram
    A computer generated 3D image of the SS Yongala
    Used with permission of xploredive
    Yongala Diagram
    A computer generated 3D image of the SS Yongala
    Used with permission of xploredive
    Yongala Diagram
    A computer generated 3D image of the SS Yongala
    Used with permission of xploredive

    Once he took a breath, he looked around and saw Tina dropping away. He said that "she was looking up had both her arms out you know reached, stretched up almost like looking at me reaching her arms up to grab so I kind of ah I upended myself you know head first um and I remember going down you know reaching". After a very brief attempt to get to her [it was stated in the press that his computer showed he only went down a few metres very quickly at this time but this is incorrect - it is incapable of showing such a quick short change of depth], Gabe decided that he was not going to go after her as she was sinking too quickly. He claimed she was still breathing. He probably reached his maximum depth of 16.5 metres or 54 feet here.

    Comment: There is no way that a diver cannot chase and catch another diver who is sinking as a dead weight. He should have been able to catch her within a few seconds. As they had only started the dive, he should have had sufficient air to chase her all the way to the bottom if need be. I also suspect that Gabe's BCD was now over inflated as he was pulling Tina along. Thus, when he attempted to swim down now he was possibly very positive (due to the air he probably put in when towing Tina) and it would have been hard. However, dumping the air would have enabled him to easily catch her.

    Again, I would love to see the read out from his dive computer to see how much air he had used to this point but it seems that the software does not have the ability to do this.

    Meanwhile, the two groups of divers off Jazz II, who were diving with Pleasure Divers entered the water. The first was led by Kasper Brodersen, a Dane, and included at least Ashik Shah from London. The second group was led by owner Robert Webster.

    Of relevance, one of these divers was Dr Stanley Stutz and another was 13 year old Jarrod Fisher and another was, of course, Robert Webster.

    The diver list was stated to be Ash, Kasper, Jay, Neil, Sun Ming, Han Gyu Kim, Chris and Karl [there is no mention of Stanley Stutz but I now know that he also called himself Jay - Robert Webster was not listed, presumably because he was the instructor and Jarrod Fisher was also not listed]. This meant that the second group was Robert Webster, Jay (Stanley) Stutz, Neil Joslin, Sun Min Jeon, Han Gyu Kim, Christian Bennett, Karl Diggins and Jarrod Fisher (but he ended up not diving).

    The following graph has been created by me to show where each person involved in this matter (Gabe, Tina, Stutz, Webster and Fisher) was at each moment of the dive. As well as the printouts from Gabe's computer (click here to see) and Wade Singleton's computer (click here to see), I have used the following information as fact to construct it:

  • Wade Singleton's dive profile, starting time and end time is considered accurate - even if it is not, it is accurate in relative terms to Tina and Gabe's computer dive time
  • He started at 10:31 am and dived for exactly 10 minutes (not 9 as stated at the inquest) - this is from the graph from his computer
  • It is known that Tina's computer gave an accurate dive time, so the start of Gabe and Tina's dive can be calculated by subtracting this time from Wade's end time - this was 10 minutes but could have been as much as 10:59 minutes
  • I have taken this to be 10 and a half minutes, thus starting Gabe and Tina at 10:30:30 am, as Claudia Petersen could still see them when she started descending
  • Gabe's end time can then be calculated by starting at the time worked out in the point above - using his computer printout
  • Tina's dive profile is worked out by using Gabe's computer till 10:35:45 and from Wade's computer from 10:38:15
  • The section in between is an assumption of how she sank to the bottom
  • Statements by those on Jazz II who did not dive state that Gabe ascended as much as two minutes or as little as less than a minute after the Jazz II divers descended
  • We know that Gabe took about 1.5 to 2 minutes to ascend
  • Jazz II divers entered water at 10:35 and 10:36 according to the boats diver log and took about a minute or two to swim over to the DAP
  • Therefore, the Jazz II divers did not descend till about one minute after Gabe started his ascent at the earliest
  • Therefore I believe that Dr Stutz could not have seen Gabe and Tina interacting
  • Dive Profiles
    This graph shows the dive profiles of the key persons involved in this dive and is based on evidence given at the Inquest. See above how I calculated this.
    As you can see from the above graph, it seems not possible for Stutz to have seen Gabe and Tina together as he did not descend till about a minute and a half after Tina fell away and less than a minute before Gabe ascended [and we know Gabe did not ascend from 16 metres in less than a minute].

    The Jazz II entry times were recorded as 10:35 am and 10:36 am in the vessel's diver log record and can be expected to be an accurate recording of the time the divers entered the water (not descended). Alana McMahon, Second Mate and a Dive Instructor, recorded the times from her watch. However, in her statement to Police later that night she said it was 10:30 am [the diver log record is likely to be more accurate as it was filled out as they entered the water whereas the statement was completed from memory]. It took the divers probably one to two minutes to swim across to the DAP (divers, including Stutz, confirm this), so they probably started descending at 10:37 am. In any case, the people remaining on Jazz II all stated that Gabe surfaced less than a minute or two after their divers descended.

    Dr Stanley Stutz [only "20 or 30 dives" and he had not dived in "maybe even 10 years"] who as I mentioned was one of the Jazz II divers (doing an Advanced course) was one of the last to descend (note that he was not an Advanced or Resuce diver at this time as has been claimed later). He stated to the inquest that he was at about five metres when he saw a diver (Diver 2) holding another diver (Diver 1) in what was later described by Police as a "bear hug". He said "The look on her face was awful, I had the belief she knew she was in danger, her eyes were wide open". However, he later admitted that he could not see the hands of Diver 2 (presumably Gabe) as they were shielded by his body. Dr Stutz also said that he could not see the wreck when he saw all this happen, although in one statement he said he could.

    Comment: I have now had the opportunity to read Dr Stutz's evidence to the Inquest in full as well as two other statements he made and an email he sent to the Queensland Police. I know that he never stated he saw a "bear hug" (more about this in a second) when he witnessed this encounter. In his evidence, it is clear that what he has described is virtually exactly one section of the story that Gabe told the Police in both interviews/statements. I suspect that perhaps his evidence has been compromised by things he was told when he was on Spoilsport after Tina died and perhaps when discussing what happened with the other doctor who was involved in the attempted resuscitation, Dr Downie.

    I believe that Dr Stutz's memory of what happened is an honest attempt to to recall what he witnessed but it has got better as the years have gone on. This is contrary to what normally happens. I have added a summary of each of his statements and interviews to show this. See part 6 for the link. At the Alabama trial he said that he thought Diver 2 was trying to save Diver 1.

    Dr Stutz stated that he saw a diver "falling basically, and she was moving her arms, not unpurposely, and her legs similarly". Then he saw another larger diver (Diver 2) "come into the picture... and I thought - my perspective was that he was helping her. And he came and sort of came on top of her, almost like a sort of mounted position, and from my perspective I thought he was - had his hands around her to try and bring her to the surface. Something happened. ....maybe she'd pulled her [sic] regulator out of his mouth, or kneed him in the groin. ...And they split part". In simple terms this would appear to be when Tina dislodged Gabe's mask and knocked his regulator out of his mouth, but I am not sure it was even Gabe and Tina he saw. Stutz says all this happened [pg 648] to his left, meaning that as he would have been hanging onto the line and thus pointing into the current, he was actually facing west. He said that they were together for a maximum of 30 seconds and as little as 10 seconds.

    Comment: Also, it seems very strange that Dr Stutz said he could see the two divers who everyone assumes are Gabe and Tina but could not see the wreck. They were actually a little below the top of the wreck, so you would think if he could see them, then he should have been able to see the wreck.

    Remember that Dr Stutz (if indeed he was underwater at this time - this has to be considered suspect - see above) was at least 6 metres horizontally and 11 metres vertically from Gabe and Tina (Dr Stutz was at 5 metres by his admission). This is a distance of 12.5 metres. In his first statement he said the divers were only "20 feet" from him - 6 metres.

    Later he also admits that the hands of "Diver 2'" (Gabe) may have been just under the armpits of "Diver 1" (Tina) armpits and not under her arms and behind. He also said he could clearly see Tina's eyes, but as an experienced diver, I doubt you can see someone's eyes from this distance when visibility was only 15 metres. I personally have never been able to do this at a distance of 12.5 metres, even in 50 metre visibility. My wife and I did some tests in 15 metre visibility and we were not able to see each other's eyes when more than about 5 metres apart.

    In addition, if Diver 2 had his hands/arms under Diver 1's arms, they must be so close together that their heads are almost touching. Certainly if Diver 2 is grabbing the tank valve they are touching. From tests my wife Kelly and I conducted on 11 January 2012, I can state that a diver off and up at an angle cannot see the face, let alone the eyes, of Diver 1.

    However, I have very serious doubts that Dr Stutz could have seen Gabe and Tina for the following reasons. By the printout of Gabe's computer and using Wade's start time to synchronise, it was 10:35:30 am when Tina sank away. In addition, evidence from Alana McMahon, Second Mate on Jazz II, shows that the group which included Dr Stutz entered the water from their boat at 10:35 and 10:36 am. She also stated that it took them perhaps two minutes to swim from the boat to the DAP2 buoy. Therefore, they could not have descended till 10:37 or 10:38 am at the earliest. Alana McMahon and Barton Painter said that Gabe surfaced at 10:40 am, although it was more likely 10:37:45 am. Brian Fotheringham said it was 10:49 am. Based on Wade Singleton's computer printout and Gabe's printout (assuming the download of Wade's computer was done correctly - Uwatec computers when downloaded use the time and date of the laptop/desktop computer to work out when a dive started - so long as this time is correct, the time of the dive is exactly correct), the time he surfaced was 10:37:45 am. Evidence from McMahon, Painter, Leanne England, all on Jazz II, and others confirm that Gabe surfaced less than a minute or two after the Jazz II divers descended and Wade and Tina surfaced less than two minutes later. Jarrod Fisher [pg 487] said that he resurfaced about the same time as Gabe surfaced [but in his statement says it was after Gabe had surfaced], further indicating that the Jazz II divers did not descend till just before Gabe surfaced.

    Therefore I believe that Stutz could not have seen Gabe and Tina together. In any case, I believe that who he saw were Wade Singleton, Dawn Asano, Gary Stempler and Claudia Petersen and the two divers were Gary (diver 2) photographing his wife Dawn (diver 1). In the photographs I have of Dawn (taken by Gary), she appears to be waving her arms about - using them to maneuver around. This is what an inexperienced diver does (which she was - this can also be ascertained by her vertical diving position).

    Gabe then let Tina sink to the bottom and instead swam at an angle towards the DAP line. He must have swum fast, either here or before, as his computer recorded a "maximum breathing rate alarm" [pg 469] and maximum ascent rate alarm at some time during the dive.

    At the DAP line he claims to have tried to attract the attention of other divers by grabbing hold of them and shaking them. Part of the ascent was said to have been seen by Dr Stutz. His version matches Gabe's version but he did not see the attempt to get the attention of the divers [if this did happen, I suspect this was above Dr Stutz who by this time had dropped to the instructor leading his dive to inform him what he had seen - however, there is another big conflict here - see later].

    Gabe said that one of the divers he attempted to attract the attention of was an Asian male [I presume that this was at five metres - there were three Asians in the group of divers with Dr Stutz]. He said in an interview done on 24 April 2007 that this person had a yellow wetsuit or yellow tank.

    I had originally thought that there were only two Asians diving that day, both Koreans. One was Mr Han Gyu Kim and the other Ms Sun Min Jeon. Mr Kim did not testify at the inquest as he was too busy. Ms Sun originally said she would, but then pulled out on the advice of someone. However, I now also realise that Ashik Shah is an Englishman of Indian heritage. To someone from the Deep South of America, an Indian-heritage person may be described or appear to be an Asian (which technically he is).

    Police would later question every person on both boats which were at the Yongala and none would own up to being this person. However, most people were only questioned by email and not face to face or even over the phone. I have now seen the actual questions asked and at no time was anyone, let alone Mr Kim, Ms Jeon or Mr Shah asked a question like "Did any person grab you, bump into you or try to attract your attention when you were descending". The facts are no-one has actually ever been asked about this claim of Gabe's.

    Comment: l believe that it is possible that the person will not admit that they were approached by Gabe, as to do so might cause a loss of face because they did not help.

    However, I have recently been able to read both Mr Kim and Ms Jeon's original statements and their phone interview (to the questions emailed to all others) and they both describe seeing Wade and Tina ascending and seem truthful. Therefore I am a little less sure about my original thoughts on this matter.

    Gabe then ascended, as he later stated, "I made sure that you know as I was going back to the rope that I wasn't going up quicker than the bubbles were".

    Comment: Originally I thought "What a brave man!!!!" Not only did he not chase his wife to the bottom, he would not even risk his life by ascending quickly to raise the alarm. On the face of it, according to the print out of his dive computer, he took up to three minutes to ascend from 15 metres. This is about half the normal safe ascent rate under US Navy Dive Tables and less than most computers built in alarm ascent rate! Note also that only about five or six minutes has passed from the time they descended till this point. However, Gabe's computer recorded a maximum ascent rate of 90 to 120 feet at some time (3-4 times recommended ascent rate) and when he passed the 19 foot mark he was ascending at 61-90 feet a minute (2-3 times the rate). If he did not leave the wreck till about the 5.75 minute mark and he did swim up to other divers at 5 metres and try to get their attention, it appears he did indeed ascend pretty quickly and all is somewhat explained.

    The Police investigating were later to claim that he had not ascended fast at all as the printout of Gabe's computer did not have anything recorded in the column called "Violation Status". However, this column actually only records something if the diver misses a compulsory decompression stop.

    When Gabe finally did surface (10:37:45 am), he first saw the Jazz II. As mentioned before, at this time, the divers from Jazz II had all descended but Jarrod Fisher had not yet ascended. Leanne England (wife of Neil Joslin), a non-diver who was on Jazz II, said she saw Gabe ascend within a minute of the descent of her husband and his group. Again, Stutz could not have seen Gabe with Tina.

    Some claims were made at the Inquest that Gabe "polarised" out of the water when he ascended, that is, came out of the water like a Polaris missile. However, this claim was made by Constable Ricky Murdoch [Police diver and involved in investigation] and does not appear to be based on any such comments by witnesses.

    Gabe surfaced right next to the tender being driven by Craig Haslet and it is possible he grabbed a buoy, probably at the end of the Jazz II mermaid line [a line available for divers to hold onto in a current]. Both England and Fotheringham agree on this. He informed Haslet what had happened and Haslet radioed Spoilsport. Haslet said that he feared Gabe would descend and search for Tina so he held onto him and refused to let him descend again. Gabe was then taken back to Spoilsport. Fotheringham, who was on lookout duty on Spoilsport, stated that Gabe was 10 to 12 metres from Jazz II. He said that it was 10:49 am, but it was more like 10:38 am when he saw him. Click here to read the actual statement or evidence about this matter.

    Comment: Much of what Gabe says in the transcript of interview is recorded but to me is unintelligible. However, when you watch the video, it is much more understandable. I cannot believe that the Police officers did not question him about what he was saying as a lot of it does not make sense. Proper questioning and clarifying may have solved all the problems early.

    Click here for the next part of this article.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2017
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!