Tuesday, July 25, 2006
That Andrea is One Deadly Bitch!
On a foggy July night in 1956, the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria was on its way toward New York on the last leg of a trans-Atlantic crossing when it collided with a passenger ship and sank, killing 51 people.
Half a century later, the Andrea Doria is still taking a toll as it rests on its side about 200 feet down in frigid waters south of Nantucket, Mass.
At least 14 people have died while exploring the wreck. The latest fatality came July 8, when researcher David Bright suffered decompression sickness after making his 120th dive to the Andrea Doria.
"It's called the Mount Everest of diving. It's such a dangerous depth, but it attracts a lot of interest," said Capt. Robert Meurn, professor emeritus at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Long Island and, like his friend Bright, an expert on maritime history and the Andrea Doria in particular.
Why do people do really dangerous things? Aren’t there enough other shipwrecks out there to explore that aren’t quite as scary or difficult as the Andrea Doria that would still satisfy these adrenalin junkies? I used to think the people who perished attempting this treacherous dive were amateurs and rookies who wouldn’t know a regulator from a vibrator. But, this guy who died on July 8th was an experienced professional making his 120th trip! It just goes to show that anything can happen at any time and that means you have to be able to deal with the worst. What happened to David Bright is extremely unfortunate. But, hopefully this story will keep other people out of that wreck. It’s obviously really dangerous! Maybe people who were considering the dive will now settle for watching the whole thing on the National Geographic Channel instead of stupidly risking their lives.