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Diver’s body found off Cedros
Even as the Divers’ Association prepared to make a case before the T&T Bureau of Standards today calling for an end to commercial scuba diving, the body of a diver, believed to be Chevonne Bartholemew, was fished out of the Gulf of Paria in Cedros yesterday.
The body, clad in a black wetsuit complete with a divers’ weight belt, was found floating in the Gulf of Paria, off Cedros around 2 pm. Bartholemew went missing on January 29.
The body was brought to shore where it was viewed by a District Medical Officer and then transferred by boat to the San Fernando mortuary.
Public relations officer of the T&T Coast Guard Lt Sherron Manswell said even though there was a possibility that the body was Bartholemew’s, his family still had to confirm the identity.
His wife, Pete-Ann, who has remained adamant that her husband will be found alive, said she felt at peace when contacted yesterday.
“I am feeling Jesus’ peace right now. It’s amazing,” Pete-Ann said. Saying their ten-year-old son turns 11 years today, Pete-Ann said it was her hope that her missing husband is found.
“For him to be rescued he has to be found,” she said.
Diver Antonio O’Connor said the body found yesterday was clad in a divers’ suit and weight-belt similar to the one Chevonne was wearing when he disappeared. However, he said they too were awaiting a positive confirmation of the identity. There was no oxygen tank attached to the body.
He said the Association will today present a case before the Bureau of Standards, calling for scuba diving to be outlawed, as a commercial job. This method, which is outlawed in other countries, posed serious risks to divers as there is no lifeline or surface communication, O’Connor said.
O’Connor said it was dangerous for divers to be sent on underwater missions without proper gear.
President of the Divers Association of T&T Rupert Paul said scuba air should not have been the method used in Bartholemew’s last dive saying if he was outfitted with a helmet and hose, he would not have gone missing.
Bartholemew, 37, of Flamboyant Crescent, Valencia, was employed with Trindive Underwater Services which contracts commercial divers for companies involved in the oil and gas industry. He was inspecting oil tanker C-Spirit anchored off Gasparee Island in Chaguaramas when he disappeared.
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