Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria
Kevin F. McMurray
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On a foggy July evening in 1956, the Italian cruise liner Andrea Doria, bound for New York, was struck broadside by another vessel. In eleven hours, she would sink nearly 250 feet to the murky Atlantic Ocean floor. Thanks to a daring rescue operation, only 51 of more than 1,700 people died in the tragedy. But the Andrea Doria is still taking lives.
Considered the Mt. Everest of diving, the Andrea Doria is the ultimate deepwater wreck challenge. Over the years, a small but fanatical group of extreme scuba divers have investigated the Andrea Doria, pushing themselves to the very limits of human endurance to explore her -- and not all have returned. Diver Kevin McMurray takes you inside this elite club with a hard, honest look at those who go deeper, farther, and closer to the edge than others would ever dream.
Deep Descent is the riveting true story of the human spirit overcoming human frailty and of fearsome, mortal risks traded for a hard-core adrenaline rush. Chronicling these adventures in his page-turning narrative and in dozens of dramatic photos, McMurray draws us deeper into the cold heart of the unforgiving sea, giving us a powerful vision of a place to which few will ever have the skills -- or the courage -- to go.
into light, patchy fog. Calamai had seen the conditions deteriorate for himself from the exposed bridge wings that extended out from the bridge. The captain knew conditions would worsen once the ship approached the Nantucket Lightship, which was anchored on the southern tip of the shoals. The shoals were infamous for their hazardous fog conditions during July, when the warm, moisture-saturated southwestern breeze blew over the frigid Labrador currents emanating from the North Atlantic. Although
decompress as the suit reverted to its buoyant form. I would have loved the luxury of a dry suit, but the $1,000 price tag was more than I could afford. Two crew members helped me get into my gear while I sat on the “doghouse,” a raised compartment on the aft deck next to the entry slot on the gunwale. I slipped into my double eighty-cubic-foot tanks, which had a small pony tank containing emergency air wedged in between them. The crew members helped me arrange the three regulators so they
or wrong, he was told, Gimbel’s deep pockets could keep Bielenda in court with expensive legal representation for months if Bielenda returned to dive the wreck while Gimbel’s salvage and filming operation was still in progress. Bielenda canceled his return trip. Nevertheless, the success of the Wahoo’s first trip had his loyal following of divers clamoring for more. Ironically, it was Gimbel’s salvaging of the Bank of Rome’s safe that really kick-started interest in the Doria by wreck divers.
Upper Deck. Reaching the first-class bar at the depth of two hundred ten feet, Gentile discovered Richard Roost’s body. It was approximately 1:22 P.M. The body was not entangled in any cable. Roost was lying face-down at a slight angle with his regulator still in his mouth. If he had convulsed, his regulator would have been dangling beneath him. Both of his stage bottles containing his decompression gas were full and still clipped to his harness. Gentile signaled to Moyer who was above him.
barge once belonged to a salvor who attempted to raise the bronze propellers off the warship in the late 1960s. The massive screw had been too much for the wooden float to lift, and it had joined the San Diego on the bottom. As with most disasters at sea, the wreckage proved to be a boon to marine life and divers alike. The decomposing wood of the barge became a lair to lobsters intent on refuge. Captain Janet appeared to have bagged all the lobsters foolish enough to reveal themselves, and