‘I’m grateful to be alive’: Diver nearly hit by passing boat
HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - A diver in Hawaii had a close call when he was nearly run over by a boat. He said the near-accident was mostly his own fault.
On Thursday morning, 30-year-old Christopher Lastra was spearfishing off Magic Island when video shows that within seconds he ducked out of the way of a speeding boat.
“It could have been worse,” Lastra said. “I’m grateful to be alive, I think God was definitely watching over me.”
Fortunately, only his fin got sliced up by the boat’s propeller.
“So, in that split second, I was just thinking bad decision,” Lastra said. “But last week, I lost my buoy in the current so decided I would go without a buoy. And thinking it’d be OK, but obviously, was not.”
Kendall Smith, the U.S. Coast Guard Diving Supervisor of the Honolulu Sector, said dive flags or buoys could prevent close calls and even save lives.
When it comes to safety on the ocean, however, he said both boaters and divers need to know the rules.
“Like in this instance, he’s very lucky to be alive,” Smith said. “Secondly, I noticed in that video he was by himself. You should always dive with a buddy, have a plan and hope for the best but always be prepared for a scary instance like that.”
Smith also said dive flags must be displayed while snorkeling, spearfishing, or diving, according to state laws.
“If someone was diving, or had a diver down flag, it’s a no wake zone for 200 yards outside of that diver down flag or buoy,” Smith said.
Lastra told KHNL he has been diving for over 10 years. He said he’s originally from California, where he said there is no law requiring a dive buoy. But after this incident, he said he learned his lesson.
“Your life flashes before your eyes when you face death, but for me, I was just thinking I’m an idiot,” Lastra said. “I should have had a buoy out here. I knew the law and I just decided not to bring it.
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