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Tale of bravery brought to the surface by BSAC divers



The rescue of two men trapped aboard a burning sea plane more than 60 years ago has been uncovered by a team of BSAC divers.

Members of the Eling-based Calshot Divers have become underwater detectives in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding three iconic Sunderland Flying Boats.

And Calshot Divers are now backing a campaign for a permanent memorial to a leading aircraftman, stationed at Calshot in 1950, who was awarded the George Medal for bravery after rescuing two men from one of the stricken aircraft which was ablaze off the Hampshire coast.

John Greenwood, Calshot Divers’ Training Officer, said: “As a club we now meet in Eling, despite the club’s historic name. So, when looking for a new project all club members could get involved with, we wanted to somehow try and find a tie-in with Calshot, where our club was initially formed.

“Calshot is, of course, famous for its former flying boat base and the Schneider Trophy race for seaplanes. The last two races were held off Calshot Spit in 1929 and 1931 and were won by British Supermarines.

“We knew of a Sunderland Flying Boat wreck off Calshot, very close to where the lifeboat is now moored.

“From records we knew the wreck, which we managed to plot using sonar depth readings, could potentially be one of three identifiable aircraft, PP118, G-AGKY and ML883 which were all lost in the area.

“But everything pointed to it being PP118 which was built in 1945 at the Short Brothers factory in Rochester and reportedly, partially sank off Calshot, on February 3rd 1950 during a severe gale.”

Calshot Divers discovered that, during an operation to recover the aircraft almost three weeks later, it caught fire after flares aboard the stricken flying boat were ignited.

Leading aircraftman, Peter Anderson, who was known as Andy Anderson and stationed at Calshot, rescued two people from the burning wreck and was subsequently awarded the George Medal for his bravery.

One of the two other possible aircraft, G-AGKY, was also built in Rochester in 1943 was converted into a civilian passenger aircraft and went into service with Aquila Airways.

That aircraft was reportedly written off following an accident off Cowes and sank off Calshot on January 28, 1953 while it was under tow and thankfully, the five crew and 26 passengers on board at the time all survived.

And the third aircraft, ML883, was built in Blackburn, Dumbarton in 1944 and sank off Calshot, after being hit by a surface vessel, on December 17th, 1944.

John said: “All the records and information we could find led us to believe the wreck of the aircraft we had found was that of PP118, the aircraft that Andy Anderson rescued two people from.

“However, once we dived the wreck we realised, very quickly due to the shape of the aircraft’s windows and hull for example, the likelihood was that it was not PP118 and must be one of the other two which were different models.

“But that raised more questions than answers. If it wasn’t PP118 then which one was it? And where was PP118? We did a huge amount of research and wanted to find the family of Andy Anderson, who we discovered had died as recently as June 2003.”

He added: “We located Mr Anderson’s grave and saw it was clearly well tended. So, a few days before the anniversary of his death I left a message fixed to the grave headstone asking the family to get in touch.

“One of his sons, John Anderson, contacted me and we were able to meet and learn a great deal more about the circumstances surrounding the award of the George Medal to Andy Anderson and what had happened to the Sunderland Flying Boat PP118.”

“However, it was clear, and our suspicions were confirmed from photographs the family possessed, that the wreck we had dived on was most definitely not PP118.”

He added: “But hearing the story of Andy Anderson his bravery left us shocked that there is no permanent memorial in the Calshot area to commemorate his gallant act.”

For more information on Calshot Divers, click here.


Indo siren destroyed by fire



Indo Siren

Indo Siren, a vessel from the Master Liveaboards Fleet, has been destroyed by a fire this morning. Thankfully, all guests and crew members are safe.

Master Liveaboards have released the following statement:

During our current cruise in Raja Ampat, on the morning of 30th November, a fire broke
out on Indo Siren. At the current time we are still assessing the events around the incident,
and will be working with authorities, so cannot currently comment further.

All guests and staff departed the boat, without further incident. They are now with our
ground crew who have organised accommodations while we assist with all their other
needs going forwards.

We are currently evaluating the issues created by the fire on upcoming trips. Guests who
are likely to be affected by enforced cancellations or changes will be contacted in due time
when plans are finalised.

We are incredibly grateful that this incident was not more serious and that everyone who
was onboard, both crew and guests, are safe and well.

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The healing powers of adaptive diving



PADI highlights how scuba diving helps enrich and heal lives

This International Disabilities Day (3rd December) PADI is reminding the world of the healing aspects that the ocean (or any body of water) can provide and how important it is for helping those with physical or mental challenges improve their wellbeing. From simply being within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure, the ocean has the power to heal.

Regardless of your age, ability, or even limitations, the ocean can benefit us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. This is why PADI is on a mission to make those benefits accessible to all, with their Adaptive Techniques Diving Course in the hope that all of humanity can experience the full transformational power of the ocean.

While many are more familiar with traditional therapies, diving, mermaiding or freediving, has changed the lives of those around the world by connecting with the water and enabled them to conquer mental or physical perceived limitations.

The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course is unique in that it’s a pro-level specialty designed to educate and empower PADI Professionals who wish to make scuba and freediver training more accessible.

Through classroom, confined water and open water workshops, dive professionals further cultivate their ability to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. This hands-on training increases awareness of differing abilities and explores adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training divers with physical and mental challenges. PADI Pros learn to adapt course content to accommodate virtually any student diver.

PADI Members Helping those with Disabilities

This International Disabilities Day PADI highlights a shining example of a member who is championing teaching those with disabilities how to dive.

DiveHeart Empowers Individuals Worldwide Through Adaptive Scuba Programmes

DiveHeart, a PADI Dive Centre founded by PADI Scuba Instructor Jim Elliott in 2001, continues to revolutionise the world of adaptive scuba. Using zero gravity and adaptive scuba, DiveHeart aims to instil confidence, foster independence, and elevate self-esteem among individuals facing physical and cognitive challenges.

DiveHeart has established Adaptive Scuba programmes across North America and the Caribbean and reaches global destinations including Malaysia, Australia, China, Israel, and the UK. Through a combination of donations, grants, and strategic partnerships, DiveHeart ensures inclusivity by providing services to children, veterans, individuals with ALS, autism, and others, irrespective of their abilities or financial means.

A significant milestone in DiveHeart’s journey was the hosting of the inaugural Adaptive Scuba Symposium in 2009, held at the prestigious Our World Underwater event in the Midwest. This pioneering symposium attracted a diverse array of experts, including researchers, physicians, professors, therapists, adaptive dive professionals, and participants from across the globe. The event delved into the current state and the future of adaptive scuba, scuba therapy, the adaptive scuba market, the latest in adaptive scuba training techniques and the latest in scuba therapy research.

At the forefront of adaptive scuba initiatives, DiveHeart offers specialised training courses for certified scuba divers to become adaptive dive buddies. Every diver with a disability is paired with two dive buddies to form a cohesive dive team, ensuring a safe and empowering experience.

DiveHeart further hosts regular pool diving programmes catering to divers of all skill levels nationwide and organises immersive week-long adaptive diving trips to ocean locations like Cozumel, Roatán, and others at least three times annually.

Jim Elliot, the Founder and President of DiveHeart, a scuba diving instructor since 1997, recognised the transformative potential of adaptive diving for individuals with physical disabilities. Witnessing firsthand the holistic benefits encompassing physical fitness, emotional well-being, and mental health, Elliot embarked on a mission to make scuba diving accessible and empowering for all.

DiveHeart remains committed to breaking barriers and creating opportunities for individuals facing challenges, enabling them to explore the vast wonders of the underwater world while unlocking their true potential. For more information on DiveHeart and its impactful initiatives, visit

People Who Have Healed from Diving

For people with disabilities—whether they use a wheelchair, have a sight impairment or a neurological condition like cerebral palsy—scuba diving can be a fun activity that offers freedom and mobility in the weightlessness of the water. PADI’s Adaptive Support Diver specialty is a course designed to teach friends and family adaptive techniques for diving with a buddy who has a disability. Many students take the course to support a particular person in their life, and the instructor can work with them on the specific skills they require.

Ryan Chen: Diving to Heal the Mind, Body and Spirit 

Ryan is a PADI Open Water Scuba Diver who was in a tragic accident as a teenager that left him paralysed. He found healing and clarity through scuba diving with his dive buddy Kent Yoshimura – so much so that during one scuba diving trip he and Kent ended up creating their current company Neuro Gum – a collection of functional gum and mints that help you get energised, calm or focused that has now led him to be named on Forbes 30 under 30.

“Scuba diving was one of the ways I learned that I can do anything, I just have to do it differently,” Chen says, “Scuba diving is one of those things that can change your whole framework. There’s no cooler feeling than taking that first breath underwater. All of a sudden you have this superpower, to breathe underwater and explore.”

Scuba diving continues to be his physical and mental therapy he continually seeks out amidst his busy entrepreneurial life. Now, with Neuro a national success and leading wellness brand in the United States, Chen has kept up his diving, and remained close to PADI as an organisation. Neuro even has a collaboration with PADI’s coral reef restoration project coming up—a special pack of Neuro, with proceeds going to PADI’s non-profit foundation.

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