The three British scuba divers who remained missing when fire spread rapidly through the Red Sea liveaboard Hurricane yesterday (11 June) have been declared dead.
The three had elected not to take part in an early-morning dive at Elphinstone Reef, so while the other 12 British divers in the group were being briefed on deck at around 6.30am, well-placed to evacuate the vessel when the fire broke out, the others had still been below, probably in their cabins.
In an update on the aftermath of the fire, tour operator Scuba Travel, which has represented the award-winning Hurricane in the UK since 2001, says that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now contacted the families of the deceased divers, who have yet to be named.
“The severity of the fire meant that the 12 divers were immediately evacuated by RIB to another craft nearby and the 14 crew-members, including the captain and two dive-guides, having tried to reach the missing guests, also had to abandon ship and were rescued by RIB,” says Scuba Travel.
“It is with great regret that we, as tour operator, with heavy hearts, must accept that three of our much-valued dive guests. who had not participated in the dive briefing, early on the morning of June 11, perished in the tragic incident. Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to their families and friends at this very sad time.”
After the fire
The other 12 guests were brought ashore to Marsa Shagra, where they were provided with any medical attention required and gave statements to the local police. With no personal possessions, they were moved to a hotel in Hurghada where a Scuba Travel representative was assisting them in acquiring clothes, personal effects and, where possible, mobile phones.
The FCO and Cairo consulate were said to be doing everything possible to arrange emergency travel documents for guests wishing to return to the UK, and the local authorities and police were set to investigate the cause of the fire. Hurricane was to be towed to port once cooled enough to enter.
Scuba Travel emphasised that in its 22-year association with Hurricane the liveaboard’s safety record had been “excellent”. Its popularity among British divers had been underlined by the fact that Diver magazine readers had voted it Liveaboard of the Year for all four years leading up to the Covid pandemic.
UPDATE: One of the three victims of the fire has been named as Christina Quinn, 58. She was chief executive of St Luke’s Hospice, Plymouth and had had a long career in the National Health Service. The two male divers who died have yet to be named.