WATCH ABOVE: An assault is caught on camera 50 feet underwater as one scuba diver is accused of ripping off the air supply of another diver. Now authorities are investigating.
TORONTO – A scuba diver found herself in danger last week when another diver rushed towards her ripping out her air supply 50 feet underwater off Hawaii’s Kona coast.
The terrifying incident was caught on camera as Rene Umberger, a coral reef consultant, and fellow divers were documenting damage to coral reefs.
Umberger’s dive party came across a pair of divers, reportedly identified as aquarium fishermen, who didn’t want to be seen on camera.
The dive became a potentially life threatening situation when one of the men darts towards Umberger ripping out her breathing regulator.
“This man needs to be arrested. I think this man needs to be arrested immediately for attempted murder,” Umberger told NBC.
Just as she is able to get her regulator back in, the suspect makes a second threatening gesture using his arms.
“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.”
Umberger, who has done more than 10,000 dives, credits her experience with saving her life. She says the average person might have panicked and swam for the surface.
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Coming up too quickly from deep depths can result in a lethal air embolism, where air bubbles cause blockages in the bloodstream.
The video highlights the tension between environmentalists and aquarium fisherman. Collecting reef fish is legal in the state of Hawaii if the diver has a permit, is in a designated area and meets fish size and quantity rules.
The State Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement said it is investigating and will report all information to the county prosecutor’s office.
Umberger says commercial fishing operations are leading to the destruction of Hawaii’s coral reefs.
“The greater issue is that Hawaii’s reefs are being emptied by these commercial operations,” she said. “Hawaii’s reefs are suffering incredibly from this unlimited collection.”
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