A terrified diver was left stranded in shark-infested waters for more than three hours after his boat capsized, and was only saved after diving down to retrieve his miraculously un-damaged radio beacon.
Cody Love, 24, was anchored on the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast for what he had hoped was going to be a half-day diving trip.
But disaster struck just 20 minutes into the trip when his boat capsized, leaving him stuck in the water.
Mr Love had been diving with mates in the same spot where the boat had capsized on a number of occasions and had seen six huge four-metre-long tiger sharks.
Cody Love, 24, said he and his friends had seen six tiger sharks over four-metres-long at the site where the boat capsized on previous trips
Mr Love took numerous trips under water to regather his belongings after the boat capsized
Some of his safety devices failed once they went under water but he dove down to retrieve what he could
‘At the particular spot where the boat flipped, we had seen over six big tiger sharks up to four metres in length over the weeks prior to this trip,’ he said.
The boat had capsized after the anchor rope had got tangled around the propeller turning it backwards.
Before Mr Love could act the boat was swamped with waves and capsized.
‘Before I could do anything the boat was swamped by waves and began to lean to one side as it filled with water,’ he explained.
Mr Love was stranded next to his capsized boat for three hours – all the while knowing killer sharks could be lurking nearby
‘As I fell to one side the Esky (the name of his boat) came sliding over as well and next thing I remember the boat was upside down and I was underwater trying to figure out what had just happened.’
‘It all happened in a matter of seconds and took me by surprise. At this point, I still had all my diving gear on.’
Belongings from the boat began to spill into the open water as Mr Love began frantically trying to gather his gear.
After a number of inspection dives around the boat, Mr Love realised that his safety gear including a box of safety flares were still lodged in the front of the boat.
After a while Mr Love realised the box of flares was in still lodged in the front of the boats
Mr Love used two flares and a tarp covering the tip of the boat to attract help but it was an EPIRB – a type of radio beacon – that called the rescuers
Despite finding the safety flares Mr Love’s situation made a turn for the worse.
‘At this stage, the anchor rope had become untangled from the propeller and I soon found myself and the boat at the mercy of the ocean – drifting north with the tide,’ he explained.
He lit two flares but neither had succeeded in attracting boats on the horizon, he then used an orange tarp to cover the tip of the boat to attract any nearby planes.
Luckily Mr Love is a very experienced diver who has completed more than 5,000 dives, is a certified PADI rescue diver and admitted he feels at home in the water.
‘Not much in the ocean scares me as I have spent so much time on the water and underwater,’ he said.
Mr Love admitted that he was more worried about losing or damaging the boat than his own safety being an experienced diver
This is the EPIRB – a type of radio beacon – that called the rescuers to his location, ultimately saving his life
He even admitted that his own safety wasn’t even his highest priority.
‘I was actually more worried about losing or damaging the boat.’
Yet another hour and a half passed by before Mr Love said he saw a red helicopter flying in his direction and, thinking it was a rescue flight, he tried to flag it down.
‘I took one of my green flippers off and stuck it on the end of my gun to try and attract their attention but unfortunately, a person in the water is like a needle in a haystack when you’re up in a helicopter,’ he said.
‘The helicopter got closer and closer, before turning away and heading in the opposite direction.’
Mr Love said he and his friends had seen six tiger sharks at the spot where the boat had capsized
‘Seeing that helicopter gave me so much hope that help was coming, then all of that hope was taken away as it turned and flew away.’
As a further two hours passed by Mr Love said he finally set off an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and ‘hoped for the best.’
Not long after the Q-air rescue helicopter became visible in a moment Mr Love described as ‘beautiful’.
Mr Love credited his wealth of diving experience for his survival the capsized boat can be seen floating behind him
‘I let go of the boat, swam over and sat below the helicopter as they sent down their rescue diver,’ he said.
Mr Love was given fluids and checked over by the rescue crew, where he was found to be in good health.
He credited his experience in the water to his survival but said he learnt a valuable lesson.
‘I would have to say my first piece of advice is: never go diving by yourself,’ he said.
‘You can be the greatest diver in the world but accidents do happen and I was quite thankful I came out of this one alive as it could have ended a lot worse.’
The boat was severely damaged after it capsized following the anchor rope tangled itself around the propeller