Rene Umberger, 53, of Kona was on a Scuba diva and filming away when she spotted a couple of fellows hard at work doing something with the reef. When they noticed her, one swam away in a hurry - but the other came at her.
What followed next was utterly bizarre. This wasn't staged or anything, this is real. He grabbed for her air hose and disconnected it. Obviously, he was not very pleased about being filmed doing whatever he was doing, which likely was illegal activity along the lines of coral collection, spiny lobster harvesting (season closed till September 1st), aquarium fish collection without a permit or something like that. There's big money in doing these things because, well, nobody is allowed to do it.
That guy seriously needs to be locked up. That's crazy.
Anyone who has qualified for Scuba certification knows that this is one of the standard drills they put you though - it's called "Hell Day" or something like that. After your training is complete, you go under with your gear and the instructors do everything they can to make you surface. If you do surface, you have to do it again until you show that you know how to handle the situation. This includes doing exactly what this guy did - pulling out your air hose. However, that is a known process, and you're not out in the middle of the ocean with nobody else around to help you and some maniac trying to kill you.
At least, I assume they still do that. They did when I qualified.
Let's go through the lunatic guy's thought process: Oh, there's that busybody with the camera again who doesn't want anyone messing with the reefs. She's getting in my business, the witch, I think I'll go take care of her for good!
Anyway, this incident is just so bizarre for anyone who dives that I just had to post it. I've never seen anything like this before. He is in so much trouble.
|Going about their illegal business when suddenly....|
Renee survived, probably because she is an experienced diver. A tourist who doesn't dive much, though, might have panicked at the loss of oxygen and immediately tried to surface. That's not a good idea, that's how you get the bends or get run over by a passing boat, but when you're panicking, you do the wrong things. Besides, the guy could have followed her up and who knows what he might have done from below.
So, reattaching her air hose, Renee calmly continued going about her business. Obviously, she's a champ and knows her business. But she's mighty upset.
“This man needs to be arrested," Umberger told Hawaii News Now. "I think this man needs to be arrested immediately for attempted murder.”
“I honestly thought he was coming back for a second attack,” added Umberger. “I got up on the boat and I said oh my God, someone just tried to kill me underwater.”
"An inexperienced diver would likely panic," said Umberger. "Either panic from the stress of the situation and shoot for the surface. They may panic because their air source is missing and they can't find it."
"Any of those things causes a diver to shoot for the surface and those incidents often lead to death. Never in a million years. Never in a million years did I think that someone would attack like that, especially from such a distance. It's not like we were close up or in their face."
Umberger knows the suspect. The State Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is reviewing the video.
From the youtube page:
WATCH: Underwater video footage shows Scary Scuba Assault. Caught on Tape. Rene Umberger was attacked by another diver while documenting damage to Hawaii's coral reef.
Coral reef consultant Rene Umberger and her camera crew were filming damaged coral reefs off the Kona coast of Hawaii when they crossed paths with a pair of scuba divers who were doing something they apparently didn't want on camera. One of the divers swam over to Umberger and yanked out her air supply.
Umberger was fifty feet below the surface as she struggled to reattach it.
(Dailymail.co.uk) Terrifying scuba attack caught on camera: Diver captures moment man tried to rip air supply from her mouth in underwater clash
Rene Umberger claims she was attacked last week by another diver while underwater off the coast of Kona, Hawaii
She says the only thing that saved her life was her experience in over 10,000 dives
A female diver claims she was attacked Thursday while 50 feet underwater off the coast of Hawaii, and has the video to prove it.
Rene Umberger, 53, of Kona, is calling for the man who ripped the air supply out of her mouth to be charged with attempted murder after an altercation that she says almost killed her.
'This man needs to be arrested,' she told Hawaii News Now. 'I think this man needs to be arrested immediately for attempted murder.'
Umberger claims she encountered her attacker -- who is named in a separate article, but MailOnline is withholding his name because he has yet to be charged -- while documenting damage to coral reefs just off the coast.
Video of the incident shows a diver quickly swim towards her and rip out her oxygen line. She eventually got it back in again, but then he came back for more.
'I honestly thought he was coming back for a second attack,' said Umberger. 'I got up on the boat and I said oh my God, someone just tried to kill me underwater.'
The environmental activist says she has taken more than 10,000 dives in her life, and that experience is what kept her from dying.
'An inexperienced diver would likely panic. Either panic from the stress of the situation and shoot for the surface, she explained. 'They may panic because their air source is missing and they can't find it.
Any of those things causes a diver to shoot for the surface and those incidents often lead to death.'
She believes the man, and another diver he was with, were reef fisherman skimming the area for fish to take back to land and sell for use in aquariums -- which she says damages the ecosystem.
'The greater issue is that Hawaii's reefs are being emptied by these commercial operations,' said Umberger. 'Hawaii's reefs are suffering incredibly from this unlimited collection.'
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