By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
An open ocean dive underneath the capsized Miss Ally would be risky, but could be accomplished with the right equipment, says a commercial diving expert.
Shawn MacPhail, the operations manager of Dominion Diving, Canada’s largest diving company, said divers would be in extreme danger underneath or inside the vessel until it was stabilized.
He explained that the vessel would have been floating on pockets of air that could be affected by the bubbles from the diver’s exhaled gas.
“It could sink in 20 seconds,” said MacPhail. “It is very dangerous.”
Unless stabilized by air bags or other means, he said diving underneath a capsized vessel in the open ocean was an extreme risk.
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He suggested that what could be done on relatively short notice was to have divers swim alongside the vessel and look into the wheelhouse.
“They could assess if the life rafts were deployed,” he said, noting that if missing fishermen’s bodies were in the wheelhouse, that divers would likely have been able to at least see them.
MacPhail said it is only a matter of time before the capsized vessel slips beneath the waves unless stabilized.
“Eventually it will sink. It is inevitable,” he said.