A fireman has beaten the odds by getting back underwater and diving with his BSAC club less than a year after the cycling accident that very nearly killed him.
Peter Lau from Baildon near Bradford has been a passionate scuba diver and BSAC member for 25 years, but a mountain bike accident in April 2014 left him paralysed from the chest down and dreaming of the day he could dive again.
Throughout repeated surgeries on his complex spinal injuries and intensive rehabilitation programmes, the thought of getting back in the water has kept Peter focussed and positive.
So when he took the plunge for the first time last week, with club members from the BSAC branch West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Sub Aqua Section, it is no wonder the 49-year-old Assistant District Commander for West Yorkshire’s Fire and Rescue Service was feeling proud and elated.
Peter said: “It was absolutely amazing. Just fantastic. It’s something I’ve been dreaming about for 11 months and I vowed I would be back in the water within the year and I have achieved that which is brilliant.
“Just being there with all my mates from the diving club and my wife Debbie was diving with me to hold my hand – it was quite emotional.
“We floated around for a bit and then went down under the water nice and slowly with complete control and it was like coming home.”
Peter’s accident happened on a weekend away in Wensleydale when his mountain bike collided with a car. His back took most of the impact of the crash while his rucksack dragged him further under the wheel.
He broke 11 ribs, punctured both lungs, fractured his scapula and suffered massive spinal damage. Emergency medics had to induce a coma to protect his lungs and Peter, a father of two grown-up children, remained in that state for almost a month before beginning the long road to recovery.
He spent many months at Pinderfield Spinal Rehabilitation Centre, and during his time there his passion for watersports led him to launch a snorkelling club in the hydrotherapy pool while he waited for doctors to give him the all clear to start diving once more.
Peter promised himself he would be back scuba diving within 12 months of the accident, and Wednesday’s 30 minute dive was enough to help him achieve his goal and reignite his love for the sport, although his dream was nearly shattered at the last minute.
He said: “After all the planning, when we arrived at the John Charles Centre in Leeds, the shallow pool was being used for something else so it almost didn’t happen.
“They only other option was to use the five metre diving pool but I’m a qualified dive instructor so five metres was no issue for me – but I suppose it was literally in at the deep end.”
After half an hour diving with friends from his BSAC group Peter emerged to a hero’s poolside welcome and with a renewed determination to continue diving.
Mary Tetley, BSAC Chief Executive, said: “What an inspiration Peter is and he embodies the passion which our scuba divers feel for the sport.
“I am so pleased to hear his news that he is finally back in the water enjoying himself and I am thoroughly proud of his fellow BSAC members for helping him achieve this.
“We look forward to hearing more about Peter’s further scuba diving adventures and wish him many congratulations and best wishes.”
Peter added: “A year ago this week I was diving in the Red Sea with a pod of 45 dolphins and I thought that was a pretty good way to end my diving career.
“I spent a lot of time lying in a hospital bed think that part of my life was over. But there are plenty of people out there who already do paraplegic diving and they’ve already done the hard work.
“Once we did the research and found the John Charles Centre, we visited and I was gobsmacked by the facilities there. Once I’ve had a few more sessions and worked my buoyancy out I’ll be sorting out a dry suit and trying a quarry and after that, who knows?
“It’s the first step in continuing the sport and it has totally reignited my passion for it. The thing to remember is that you can suffer a terrible event like mine but it is not something life-ending, just life-changing, and you just have to find different ways to make things happen.
“That is easier when you have the support of a group like BSAC because the people involved tend to be practical people. We’re a club and we help each other out and they can generally make things happen.”
Peter has a fundraising link for renovations to the specially adapted house he needs. For more information, click here.
WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!
The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.
- Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
- Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
- Internal retaining straps
- Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
- Side compartment for fins
- Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
- Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
- Drainage vents
- Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block
To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:
In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?
- A) 7,209
- B) 7,532
- C) 7,641
Answer, A, B or C to the question above:
Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)
How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.
In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.
- Here’s a link to that Cressi Mask: https://amzn.to/39EEol5
- Here’s a link to Stream2Sea: https://stream2sea.com/?ref=o-51ln3gn2c
Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Dive safe, dive often!
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