Tour Boat Ditches US Tourist on Great Barrier Reef

Snorkeler saved by another boat in the area
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 9:22 AM CDT
Not somewhere you want to be without a boat.   (AP Photo/Queensland Tourism, File)

(Newser) – An American snorkeler exploring Australia's Great Barrier Reef surfaced to find a less-than-ideal situation: The boat that had brought him there, had, well, left him there. "The adrenaline hit in and I had a moment of panic, which was the worst thing I could have done at that point," the tourist tells the Cairns Post. "I was able to calm myself just a little bit because there was another boat still out there and I made my way to that vessel."

"Lucky it was there because otherwise I may have drowned. I did not handle the situation well and I was tired," he says. The tour company responsible says the staff member who was supposed to obtain the man's signature before the boat started its return journey has been fired, and the American was given a full refund and a restaurant voucher. Regulations for tour boats in the region were tightened in 1998 after American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan were left behind by a dive boat and never seen again.

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