ORDER OF EVENTS AS WITNESSED OR LOGGED BY DIVE COMPUTER
I have listed the order of what happened during the fatal dive and then, the facts and assumptions that enabled me to work this out. Against each event, I have put in brackets a reference to the fact/assumption that led to me to decide on the timing. These numbers refered to the items under the heading How This Was Calculated.
- 10:30:31 - Gabe and Tina descend (4, 8, 9)
- 10:31:00 - Wade and group descend (1, 2, 3)
- 10:33:30 - Gabe and Tina reach top of wreck (13)
- 10:34:30 - Gabe and Tina turn around (13)
- 10:35:00 - approximately Robert and Karin Lador start their dive (31, 32, 33)
- 10:35:00 - Wade reaches 15 metres (1)
- 10:35:15 - Tina knocks Gabe's mask and regulator (13 and statements)
- 10:35:30 - Tina starts sinking (13, 15 and statements)
- 10:35:45 - Gabe tries to follow Tina down but only goes a few metres (13)
- 10:36:00 - Gabe starts up (13)
- 10:37:00 - Jazz II divers start their dive (16, 17 18, 21)
- 10:37:00 - Wade and his group are at about 21 or 22 metres (1)
- 10:37:45 - Gabe surfaces (13, 14, 19, 21, 22, 23, 33)
- 10:37:45 - Jarrod Fisher drops past Stutz (22, 31, 32)
- 10:38:00 - Stutz reaches 4 or 5 metres (36)
- 10:38:00 - Stutz sees Wade, Stempler, Asano and Petersen swimming and interacting mistakes them for Gabe and Tina (1)
- 10:38:15 - Wade sees Tina on seafloor and swims down (1)
- 10:38:30 - Stutz claims the "diver 3" (the rescue diver) descended past him (39)
- 10:38:30 - Wade gets to Tina (1)
- 10:39:30 - Jarrod Fisher surfaces (22, 23, 24)
- 10:39:45 - Wade starts ascending, slow at first (1)
- 10:40:30 - Wade and Tina pass by Robert Webster and his Jazz II divers (1, 35)
- 10:41:00 - Wade and Tina surface (1, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
HOW THIS WAS CALCULATED
- Wade's dive computer was downloaded and shows that his dive started at 10:31 and ended exactly 10 minutes later (by the graph which is accurate).
- As there are no seconds recorded relating to the start time, he could have started at 10:31:00 or as late as 10:31:59.
- It is not important if this time is accurate, so long as the relationship between the other computers and what was seen by others is correctly placed with regard to the various events.
- In his statement of 22 October 2003, Wade said "While I was attending to my divers on the surface, Tina and Gabe commenced their descent".
- We know that Tina came up with Wade, so their dives ended at the same time.
- We know that Tina's computer showed a dive of 10 minutes. This could have been as short as exactly 10 minutes or as long as 10 minutes and 59 seconds.
- Therefore, if Wade started at exactly 10:31:00, then Tina started between 10:30:00 and 10:30:59.
- As Wade says he did not see Gabe and Tina as they descended, it is safe to assume that they started at least 30 seconds before Wade.
- However, Claudia Petersen in her PADI Incident Report Form completed on the way back to Townsville said "When we started descending I saw them about 3 m deeper than us. They were holding onto the descending line".
- It is unlikely that it was as long as 59 seconds as this makes Wade and Tina's interaction at the end of the dive with the Jazz II divers harder to timeframe.
- Therefore, it is assumed that Gabe and Tina started at 10:30:30. Gabe's computer download shows that Gabe was underwater for at least 7 minutes but not 8 minutes.
- The graph from his computer cannot be guaranteed to be exactly correct, but it gives a reasonably accurate indication of the profile of his dive.
- The graph indicates that he surfaced about 7 minutes and 15 seconds after he started the dive, therefore, it seems he surfaced at 10:37:45.
- Therefore Gabe started his ascent at about 10:36:00 and Tina has started sinking about 30 seconds earlier.
- Alana McMahon, trip director on Jazz II, recorded the entry times of the Jazz II divers into the water (but not descending) as 10:35 and 10:36. This can be expected to be accurate as presumably she looked at her watch as she did it.
- The divers were said to have taken one to two minutes to swim on the surface over to the diver access point (DAP).
- This means that they started descending at about 10:37 based on these facts.
- In her statement of 22 October 2003, Alana McMahon, trip director on Jazz II, stated "A few minutes after they [the Jazz II divers] descended, at about 10:40 am, a diver surfaced from the ascent/descent point , screaming for help".
- The time of 10:40 may not be accurate, as in the same statement she says the divers entered the water at 10:30 which is different to the actual times she recorded in the log.
- In her statement of 22 October 2003, Lianne England, a non-diving passenger on Jazz II said "Within a minute [of the Jazz II divers descending], the guy came up from under the water about four metres away from our boat".
- One of the divers on Jazz II was Jarrod Fisher, a 15 year old. He had jaw pain and aborted the dive, before he did this, he swam down to 7 metres and informed the instructor, Robert Webster before returning to the surface.
- In the same statement and just after talking about Gabe surfacing, England said "the young kid who was diving off our boat [Jarrod Fisher] came up to the surface".
- In his statement of 23 October 2003, Jarrod Fisher said "Once I surfaced, I then swam approximately 5 metres to the rear of JAZZ II. On my return to the rear of the vessel, the skipper, Bart, ordered me to get out of the water because they had a missing diver" and after getting out of the water "I then saw about 7 to 8 metres away a diver surface with another person".
- In her statement of 7 February2005, Alana McMahon, trip director on Jazz II, stated "the rescue diver and the deceased surfaced about two minutes after the distressed diver broke the surface".
- This puts the time of Gabe surfacing at 10:39.
- In his statement of 26 October 2003, Barton Painter, the skipper of Jazz II said "Two or three minutes later [after Gabe surfacing] an apparently unconscious diver surfaced assisted by a male diver". This puts the time of Gabe surfacing at 10:38 or 10:39.
- In her statement of 22 October 2003, Lianne England, said after talking about Jarrod Fisher surfacing "I then saw two other divers come up to the surface about three metres from my boat and they had a woman with them and she was not moving".
- Therefore, from the evidence of these four people, it can be said that:
- Gabe surfaced less than two minutes after the Jazz II divers descended and probably less than one minute
- Jarrod Fisher surfaced between Gabe surfacing and Wade/Tina surfacing, after descending to 7 metres
- Wade and Tina surfaced less than three minutes after Gabe surfaced.
The Jazz II divers descended between three and five minutes before Wade and Tina surfaced.
- Therefore, based on this, the Jazz II divers did not start descending till about 10:36 at the earliest (5 minutes before Wade and Tina surfaced) and 10:38 (3 minutes).
- Therefore, it is likely that they descended at 10:37 (confirmed two ways - by the log and known surface swim time and the surface times of Gabe and Wade).
- In his statement dated 22 October 2003 Craig Haslet, driver of the tender that took the Spoilsport divers to the DAP, took two more divers to the DAP after he took Gabe and Tina and their group. They were the Robert and Karin Lador. He said in this statement that "The two divers descended and I waited till I couldn't see them anymore".
- This must have been before the Jazz II divers had descended as the Ladors did not see any divers during their dive and the Jazz II divers were very slow to descend.
- Haslet then said "I was proceeding back slowly and cautiously. The deceased's husband, Gabe arrived at the surface in a panic".
- We know that Gabe did not surface till after the Jazz II divers had descended so they must have went down fairly soon after the Ladors.
- It took the Jazz II divers led by Webster at least 3 to 4 minutes to get to 15 m, very slow, but consistent with the time we know it took Gabe and Tina and Wade to get to the same depth. We know this because this is where Webster saw Wade and Tina go past.
- It would therefore appear that Stutz got to the 5 metre level at about 10:38 or even 10:39 (based on starting at 10:37). At this time, Gabe was already surfaced. Even if Stutz started at 10:36, Gabe was already almost up at 5 metres by the time Stutz started his descent.
- For Stutz to have seen Gabe and Tina interacting when he was at 5 metres, he would have needed to started his descent at 10:34, that is, before any of the Jazz II divers had even entered the water and .
- If 37 had occurred, then it would have been almost four minutes between the Jazz II divers descending and Gabe surfacing - witnesses said it was two or perhaps less than a minute
- The diver 3 who Stutz said he saw swim fast past him and go down could have been Fisher going to see Webster but not one of the Ladors as they said they saw no-one on the dive.