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Peter Benchley, whose novel, Jaws, terrorized millions of swimmers even as the author himself became an
> advocate for the conservation of sharks, has died, his widow said yesterday. Benchley was 65. Wendy Benchley, married to the author for 41 years, said he died Saturday night, 11 February 2006,  at their home in Princeton, N.J. The cause of death, she said, was a progressive and a fatal scarring of the lungs. Thanks to Benchley's 1974 novel and Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie of the same name, the simple act of ocean swimming became synonymous with fatal horror, of still water followed by ominous, pumping music, then teeth and blood and panic. While Benchley co-wrote the screenplay for Jaws, and authored several other novels, including The Deep and The Island, his wife said he was especially proud of his conservation work. He served on the national council of Environmental Defence, hosted numerous television wildlife programs, gave speeches
> around the world and wrote articles for National Geographic and other publications. 
February 2006.

The incredible Leni Riefenstahl diving the Maldives last year (2000) - not bad at the age of 98 - thats right - ninety-eight, years of age. She took up diving in her seventies - and fibbed about her age, putting it down to the mid-fifties I think it was. But her diving days are over as she is now has severe back pain and is on morphine.   Riefenstahl gained international notoriety with her film  "Triumph of the Will" on the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg, seen as glorifying Adolf Hitler, and followed  this with a spectacular film of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Thereafter she was dubbed Hitler's favorite  filmmaker. Even in her 90's she has remained active; in 2000 she survived a helicopter crash in Sudan, where she was taking  photographs. Within months she had recovered well enough to spend two weeks diving in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
August 2000


Pontoons are being constructed at the Sevmash shipyard to assist in the raising of the ill-fated Russian 18,000 ton submarine Kursk. The 330-foot-long, 53-foot-wide pontoons  will be lowered into the White Sea, 600 miles north of Moscow where the submarine was lost last year.  Sevmash built the pontoon on order from the Dutch company Mammoet, which is preparing to lift the Kursk with another Dutch firm, Smit International, under a contract with the Russian government. The shipyard, which specializes in nuclear submarines, launched the Kursk in 1994. Each pontoon is equipped with engines, pumps,  life-support systems and other essential equipment. Early next month, the pontoons will be towed to the Russian navy's Roslyakovo ship-repair plant near the port of Murmansk, where they will  await the sub's arrival. After the Kursk is towed to harbor, the pontoons will be used to hoist it onto a dry dock.

 The Kursk sank in the Barents Sea during naval exercises Aug. 12 last year. Russian officials say the sub's two nuclear reactors had been safely shut  down and have not leaked any radiation, but that the vessel should be lifted to avoid any potential danger to the area's rich fishing grounds. They also say  a close look at the submarine could shed light on the cause of the disaster.

Officials say the powerful explosions that sank the Kursk were triggered by a practice torpedo, but they remain uncertain whether they were caused by an internal flaw in the torpedo - the theory favored by most outside experts - or a collision, possibly with a foreign submarine.  The Kursk is to be brought to the surface September 15 by steel cables connected to 26 computer-controlled hydraulic lifting devices, anchored to a giant  barge.

  An international team of divers has so far made 16 of 26 holes in the Kursk's  double hull. Once that is completed, they will prepare to sever the  submarine's mangled fore section, which is to be left behind when the Kursk  is lifted, for fear it could contain unexploded torpedoes.  Once the Kursk's bow is sawed off, the divers will attach steel cables. Towing the submarine to harbor is expected to take up to two weeks, depending on the weather

Note: The submarine was raised late October 2001.

August 23, 2001(Associated Press)

The US Navy suffered a setback in its plan to  move the Ehime Maru, the fishing  vessel sunk by a U.S. submarine,  to shallow water. Officials said they had ended a weeklong effort to drill underneath the vessel to install rigging, and would try a new method. But the glitches, caused by the  failure of underwater drilling  equipment to clear paths beneath the hull of the 830-ton vessel, would not prevent the navy from moving it, officials said.

The Navy plans to move the ship from its resting place 2,000 feet  below the surface to 115-foot-deep waters a mile offshore so divers  can search for the bodies of the missing.   Capt. Bert Marsh, Navy director of ocean engineering and supervisor of salvage and diving, told reporters during a Pearl Harbor briefing Wednesday that the Navy now plans to lift the stern of the Ehime Maru by its rudder and place steel cables under the vessel. Placing the cables is a critical part of the project and will allow  engineers to pull two enormous lifting plates under the Ehime Maru, he said.  The plates will be attached to a civilian ship, Rockwater 2, which will lift and move the Ehime Maru closer to the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located.

 The part of the Navy plan that failed required the drilling equipment to create a path from one side of the Ehime Maru to the other. This  would allow the steel cables and lifting plates to be pulled through  the holes under the vessel, Marsh said.  Drilling beneath the ship was the Navy's first choice because  salvagers thought that lifting the ship, even briefly, would further damage an already battered hull, Marsh said. But cameras  mounted on remotely operated vehicles gave engineers a better view of the ship and it appears much stronger than originally expected, he said.

The Ehime Maru, which was used to teach high school students how to fish, sank Feb. 9 after it collided with the Greeneville about nine miles south of Oahu.   Nine people aboard the Ehime Maru, including four teenage boys,  died when the vessel sank. The Navy believes the bodies of as many as seven of them are trapped inside the hull.  The collision strained relations between the United States and Japan, particularly after it was disclosed that the Greeneville was  performing an emergency surfacing drill for a group of civilian guests aboard the submarine.  Marsh said the Navy still believes it can move the vessel to a 115-foot deep location by mid-September.

August  23, 2001 - CBS Worldwide August, 2000


A 39-year-old diver died after losing consciousness on his boat during a spearfishing tournament in Florida. Mark Sweazie was hunting two black groupers about 200  feet down in the gulf during Saturday's St. Pete Open, but after losing sight of the fish, the scuba diving hunter ascended back to the boat. Though friends told him to rest, Sweazie dived again. He quickly returned to the boat, complaining of leg cramps, friends said. Minutes later, he couldn't breathe and lost consciousness. Sweazie was diving extremely deep Saturday in the gulf about 50 miles southwest of John's Pass on Madeira Beach. The maximum depth for a recreational diver is 130 feet, said  diving instructor Chad Carney. Friends and relatives said  Sweazie had gone as deep as 200 feet.  Carney, who saw Sweazie earlier on Saturday, said making multiple dives too quickly also can be extremely dangerous, because your body does not have sufficient time to release the nitrogen in the airways after a dive.

Associated Press.

Nobody likes to hear of the death of a diver pursuing his recreation, but this ‘accident' demonstrates two things - one, know your limit, and dive to it; and two, spearfishing and scuba diving is a recreation, not a competitive sport. To push oneself to the limit in the pursuit of "winning" is not part of recreational diving.

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