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UK scuba diving instructor fighting extradition to Malta over diving deaths

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A dive instructor from the UK is fighting extradition to Malta where he faces charges of causing the deaths of two friends during a diving holiday.

Stephen Martin, 55, has been charged with two involuntary homicides by Maltese authorities after Larissa Hooley, 48, and Nigel Haines, 59, died while diving in June last year.

However, Mr Martin, who has been diving for 15 years, insists he is innocent and has launched a battle against the order which says he should be extradited to the island to face the charge, which carries a maximum ten-year prison sentence.

He has faced extradition for a month now and described his ordeal as ‘horrendous’.

“It’s truly horrible to have this sort of thing looming over you,” he said. “I feel like I’m paying the price for nearly dying trying to save my friends.”

The former IT manager was diving with seven of his friends from the Brighton branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club, based in Shoreham, when Ms Hooley descended from about 49ft below the surface to 114ft without warning.

Mr Haines and fellow scuba diver Jeremy Coster went down to help her and brought Ms Hooley to the surface but she died on the shore.

Mr Haines was then also found dead in the water.

Mr Martin said: “At first no one knew why she went down. I thought she dived down because she dropped her torch but she just kept getting lower and lower.

“Nigel and Jeremy dived down to help her because she started swimming erratically and was breathing rapidly.

“When they got to her she was limp and her eyes where just glaring; there was nothing there. It was just terrifying.”

He described how he pulled Ms Hooley back to shore and tried to resuscitate her.

A German doctor on the beach rushed to their aid but couldn’t help her.

“I just felt empty,” Mr Martin added. “I couldn’t believe what was happening.”

Unbeknownst to father-of-three Mr Martin, Mr Haines was also in trouble after helping to rescue Ms Hooley.

“He had a burst lung through going to the surface not breathing,” Mr Martin said. “But because he was on the surface he looked like he was okay.”

An inquest into the deaths on June 17, 2014, concluded they were accidental, with both divers suffering from immersion pulmonary oedemas which can affect the respiratory system.

However, the Maltese authorities have accused Mr Martin of being ‘negligent in his obligations’.

They claim he ‘failed to keep a close watch’ of his dive buddy Ms Hooley and should have called off the dive in Gozo due to bad weather conditions.

Mr Martin denies the charges. He said he had been ‘conscious’ of the weather conditions and had abandoned an earlier dive due to poor weather.

He added he had taken advice from local divers about where a safer place to dive would be.

“This was a holiday, there was no official leader of the group,” he said. “I feel like I’m being made a scapegoat by the Maltese government.”

A judge in London approved Mr Martin’s extradition, following a hearing on July 8. However, Mr Martin has lodged an appeal with the High Court.

 

Source: www.littlehamptongazette.co.uk

Photo: Derek Martin

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Veronica Cowley, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Veronica Cowley, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Veronica’s film – Worse things Happen at Sea – can be seen here:

Sixth and final in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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Peli proud to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution

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We know Peli from its popular camera cases, but from discovery to distribution, Peli’s temperature-controlled packaging is now delivering COVID-19 vaccines all over Europe and the Middle East

With the pandemic recovery just underway, COVID-19 vaccines and therapies are rapidly becoming available for use and they must be safely distributed worldwide, within their required temperature range. Peli’s BioThermal™ division is providing temperature-controlled packaging to meet this critical moment, protecting these crucial payloads.

Peli’s innovative cold chain packaging has been trusted for nearly 20 years by pharmaceutical manufacturers to safely ship their life-saving products around the world. To meet the current challenge, they have adapted their existing products to provide deep frozen temperatures when required for the newly developed life sciences materials. Current and new offerings will ensure the cold chain is maintained throughout the vaccine or therapy’s journey, maximising efficacy and patient health.

“We know that pharmaceutical companies are in all phases of the development process for vaccines and therapeutics and working tirelessly to bring safe and effective drug products to market quickly,” said Greg Wheatley, Vice President of Worldwide New Product Development and Engineering at Peli BioThermal. “Our engineering team matched this urgency to ensure they have the correct temperature-controlled packaging to meet them where they’re at in drug development for the pandemic recovery, from discovery to distribution.”

Peli BioThermal’s deep frozen products use phase change material (PCM) and dry ice systems to provide frozen payload protection with durations from 72 hours to 144+ hours. Payload capacities range from 1 to 96 litres for parcel shippers and 140 to 1,686 litres for pallet shippers.

New deep-frozen solutions are ideal for short-term vaccine storage, redirect courier transport of vaccines from freezer farm hubs to immunisation locations and daily vaccine replenishment to remote and rural areas.

Peli BioThermal temperature-controlled packaging is currently being used to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, either directly or through global transportation providers, in Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK as well as in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, with more countries set to join the list as the pandemic recovery process rolls out.

To learn more about the wide range of deep frozen Peli BioThermal shippers, visit Peli.com and PeliBioThermal.com for more information.

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