JANUARY 2011: My Surface Interval named one of the best scuba diving blogs

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scuba diver dies on the Britannic

After almost three weeks on the road doing a variety of stupid things - that sadly due to the weather did not involve scuba diving - I arrived back to some sad news.

British diver Carl Spencer who was devoted to providing “new angles” to the Titanic story died after an underwater filming mission exploring her sister ship.

The 37-year-old was part of a National Geographic crew exploring the Britannic, which sank in about 120m in the Aegean Sea, off Greece, in 1916 after being struck by a single mine.
Mr Spencer, described as an “extremely talented but modest man” was a director of Hednesford based firm Spencair.

He began experiencing discomfort during a routine dive on Sunday in the Straits of Kea, a small island about 150 nautical miles south-east of Athens.
When he began convulsing his dive team took the decision to bring him to the surface.
By the time he had been hauled up he was unconscious and he was taken to Athens Naval Hospital by helicopter, but did not regain consciousness and died 35 minutes later.

His cousin, Jayne Howarth, today told the Birmingham Post: “It has been a terrible shock for all of his family and we are devastated for his wife and two children.
“Carl was always such a careful diver and I’m sure he would have done everything absolutely by the book.
“But he was also a very modest man.
“Even though he was an expert diver and could fly helicopters he told people he was just a plumber from Cannock.
“He was a passionate diver and he loved everything about it.”

Richard Lundgren, a founder member of Global Underwater Explorers who has spent more time exploring Britannic than almost any other elite diver, said decompressing after diving on Britannic usually took up to four hours, with one or two hours spent 19ft below the surface.

The Britannic Foundation, headed by British businessman Simon Mills, wants to preserve the ship.
Mr Spencer previously joined a dive to video the RMS Carpathia, which picked up 705 survivors as the Titanic went down in 1912 but was sunk six years later by a German U-boat.
“The role of the Carpathia is often forgotten in the Titanic story, so if we can help provide a new angle to the story, that would be great,” he told the BBC in 2004.

He was also a member of the Bluebird Project, which is restoring Donald Campbell’s ill-fated craft.
Project leader Bill Smith wrote: “It was with absolute shock that I learned of the death of my good friend, Carl Spencer
“I dived Britannic with Carl in 2003 when he led a British expedition to penetrate the wreck and explore the minefield that sank it but we met in November 2000 on the Bluebird Project.
“We were short of a diver as I was being hauled away for press interviews so I asked if anyone knew a good diver with a disposition that would fit the team. Carl was immediately put forward so leaving word that he should be invited I went off to do more interviews.
“Carl was both the first and last diver to work on the recovery of Donald’s body in May 2001 demonstrating his immense skill under water; he was very methodical and completely natural in his element.
“We next worked together in 2003 when Carl led an expedition to Greece to dive Britannic. I headed up his sonar team and it was a privilege and a pleasure to support such a gifted leader.
“Since then we’ve worked on a joint project in Norway involving sonar work and diving in extreme conditions.
“He remained a staunch supporter of the Bluebird Project throughout and joined us again in early 2007 when we returned to the lake in search of a missing piece of frame. It was Carl who ultimately recovered it.
“We had planned to visit Norway again later this year but, sadly, we’ll never get there. It is absolutely heartbreaking that such a gentleman should be so tragically lost and he’ll leave a huge hole in the lives of so many people.”


Neutral Dive Gear said...

Hey Absolutmark! Thanks for following us over at our Scuba Diving Blog.

We'd love to add your blog to our blog roll. Care to swap links?

Keep diving!



Absolutmark said...

Cheers for the message Neutral Dive Gear. I've flagged you up in my latest posting and you have become the first on the published blog roll. You can see what other blogs I'm following in the profile page

Anonymous said...

I remember the "maria devesa", with you, in 1970's years, in spain , bill !

write me please at "gr_robe@yahoo.com" address