‘I’m grateful to be alive’: Diver’s close call with boat caught on camera

Chris Lastra dive near miss Chris Lastra dive near miss

A scuba diver in Hawaii has escaped injury, despite being run over by a boat while surfacing after a dive.

30-year-old Christopher Lastra, who caught the incident on camera, was spearfishing off Magic Island when the boat ran him over. Lastra says he was to blame, because he was diving without a buoy or dive flag — critical safety aids used to alert boaters that divers are in the area.

“My buoy got swept away with the current last week, and I had scheduled to pick one up tonight, however, I went for a short shallow reef dive thinking I’d be ok,” Lastra wrote on social media.

“Bad decision to dive in [a] high-traffic area. As I was hunting Mu and Uhu, I hear a boat coming. I should have stayed under the water, but shot up to the surface to get eyes on it.

“Unfortunately, the boat at that time was already within 5 yards of me and headed straight towards me. I yell ‘whoa’ as I push off the boat to get away from the centre where I knew the propeller would be. Even though boats are supposed to go around the channel marker, I accept 100 per cent responsibility since I wasn’t using a dive buoy.”

In the video above, Lastra tells ABC News: “The boat definitely hit me, and luckily it didn’t hit my head and knock me out. I’m grateful to God that I’m alive.”

While Lastra was not hurt, his fin was shredded by the boat — showing just how close a call the near-miss was. Lastra, who has been diving for over a decade, says he has learned a lesson from the incident.

“Your life flashes before your eyes when you face death, but for me, I was just thinking I’m an idiot,” Lastra told Hawaii News Now. “I should have had a buoy out here. I knew the law and I just decided not to bring it.”

Also speaking to Hawaii News Now, U.S. Coast Guard Diving Supervisor of the Honolulu Sector, Kendall Smith, says dive flags or buoys could “prevent close calls and even save lives.”

“In this instance, he’s very lucky to be alive,” says Smith. “Secondly, I noticed in that video he was by himself. You should always dive with a buddy, have a plan and hope for the best but always be prepared for a scary instance like that.”

Last week, a young Colombian woman was fatally struck by a boat propeller after jumping behind a boat to retrieve her flip-flops. The woman, who has been named in Colombian news outlets as Natalia Andrea Larrañaga Fajardo, was on holiday at San Andrés island’s “White Watta” beach when the accident occurred.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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