OF 'JAWS' A FAN OF SHARKS
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.
RIEFENSTAHL STILL DIVING
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.
PREPARES TO RAISE KURSK
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.
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.
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
The submarine was raised late October 2001.
23, 2001(Associated Press)
IN EHIME MARU SALVAGE
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.
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.
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,
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.
23, 2001 - CBS Worldwide August, 2000
DIES DURING SPEARFISHING TOURNAMENT
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.
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.