Diver Bruce Porter Dies in New Zealand After Boat Propellers Sliced Half His Face

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By Reissa Su | February 12, 2014 1:21 PM EST

A British diver was killed in a horrific accident involving the propeller blades of a catamaran. Bruce Porter who previously lived in Nottingham had his face sliced off when he tried to climb back aboard the boat which was 20 miles east of Whangerei off North Island in New Zealand.

According to reports, Mr Porter was still alive as his companion divers managed to carry him aboard. His fellow divers already called the coastguard for assistance. A rescue helicopter was on its way to their location near Poor Knights Islands.

However, attempts to resuscitate Mr Porter failed and he died moments later.

The 56-year-old diver was a civil engineer who left Nottingham and moved to Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife Jill.

According to former dive partner Cameron Smirk, the Porters have children in the UK who went to Bilborough College before attending Nottingham Trent University, according to the Mirror.

Mr Smirk said it was a shock for everyone since Mr Porter was known as a great guy.

Kate Malcolm, a spokesperson for diving club Dive Tutukaka, said Mr Porter was an experienced diver. He was on water's surface when the boat accident happened at Landing Bay Pinnacle. She said what happened to Mr Porter was more a result of a boating accident and not related to diving. Ms Malcolm was saddened about the incident and declared it was a tragedy.

The skipper of the boat, Mark Barnes, was reportedly "taking it very hard," but Ms Malcolm doesn't blame anyone.

New Zealand police will investigate the death of Mr Porter on behalf of the coroner. Maritime New Zealand will also conduct its own investigation. The police may wait for the results of Maritime NZ's report before deciding whether or not to file charges.

The Association of Diving Contractors Vice President and skipper Brendon Cappely remarked that it was not clear who was to blame for the tragic incident until investigations are done. However, maritime law requires all skippers to take the necessary precautions.

All skippers should be able to maneuver their boats safely and keep a proper lookout. Mr Cappely explained this meant staying under five knots when divers are 50 meteres away and 200 meteres of a boat showing a dive flag. 

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