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Phuket Diving Gossip

Author: Iain Page, May 2008

Rich Neeley and Ally Dalton - Alive and Finning (part 2)

Allyson Dalton - do you think the boat has gone yet?Rich Neeley - no, let's wait another 18 hours to be certain!

After all the hype and speculation over the circumstances surrounding Rich and Ally's "lost at sea" episode, and in response to or article in May's gossip column, Rich and Ally would like to thank all those who have sent messages of support. Here is their reply:

"Our dear friends and family,

Amidst the intense trauma, pain and accusations that Ally and I are both being subjected to since our rescue, I have at last found the time to sit and write, on behalf of both Ally and myself, perhaps the biggest thank you I have ever wished to convey, to all the people who are making a point of not believing the negative and are focusing on the positive and passing that on to us.

Ever since sunday night we have been caught up in a whirlwind of media interest, and as you may know, some of it has been incredibly cruel. Through a terrible lack of communication between some incompetent staff on a dive boat, and through their desperate attempts to deny their liability and negligence, our world has been turned upside down by accusations that we disobeyed safety rules, that we were conceited and aloof concerning dive planning, that we deliberately did what we were told not to do, and even that we spent 18 hours adrift in terrible wind, rain and waves, trying desperately to survive the night.....ON PURPOSE!!!!!

While Ally and I are both safe and eternally thankful in the knowledge that you all know us to be two of the most conscientious divers, and we are trying to take some time to feel comfort from your kind words of love and support, our lives are full of pain and turmoil at this moment.

We are trying to juggle the media attack, the jet lag of flying around the world to be with our friends and family, as well as the erratic shock of what we have been told are the symptoms post-traumatic stress disorder. We have not even been able to find a moment's respite to sit back and think about how lucky we are to be alive after what I am sure is as close to death as we will ever get.

We knew that there would be genuine interest across the world in the story of our abandonment and subsequent rescue, we just weren't expecting such a frenzy as this. The actual event has been twisted and turned by jealous media and a lack of discretion and judgment by some influential figures, and now so many people are promoting it for all the wrong reasons.

I hope that in time we will be able to fully deal with what we have been through, but we realise that we are journeying along a road and we cannot see the end just yet. The good news is that for every negative report we hear, be it a snippet of chat on a web forum or comment section to a paragraph or two of accusations and doubt in a million selling tabloid page, there is also just as much positive news.

All I can say for now is that Ally and I know that the truth will surface and the company will be found to be negligent. There can be no criminal charges made as far as we are aware, unless we had died, but we and others are liaising with the Work Health and Safety organization in Queensland to provide them with everything they need to know regarding the truth.

  • We know we have followed rules and dived safely and prudently.
  • We know that the staff on the boat failed to do what they had told us they would.

This is all that matters in that respect.

One other thing that matters is the love and best wishes that you have all given to us freely. Please be assured that this is taken with a lifelong debt to you all. Thank you for being there in our time of need. Know that we are taking your words of encouragement into the battle ahead, and you will be in our thoughts and hearts when this is over. Until we get a chance to thank you personally, you are in our thoughts right now, as we are in yours.

Please keep it up! We need you!

The biggest thank you......

Rich and Ally

Your Say

If you would like to show your support for Ally and Rich or comment on this article in anyway then please contact us at info@sharkeyscuba.com. We are sure Rich and Ally would love to receive your e-mails and guarantee to forward them on immediately.

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