Deco the dog with her owner Sally Gregory after their runabout flipped on the Tweed bar yesterday.
Deco the dog with her owner Sally Gregory after their runabout flipped on the Tweed bar yesterday.

Dive trip turns to drama

By KATE McINTOSH SALLY Gregory's weekend scuba dive trip turned to drama on the high seas yesterday after her boat capsized on the Tweed bar in rough swells. Ms Gregory and her husband, both experienced divers, had been returning from Cook Island about 9.40am when their boat was swamped by large waves on the treacherous bar. "A big wave came over and just swamped the boat, then another hit and we flipped. We were all trapped underneath," she said. Ms Gregory's first thought however was not for her own safety, but that of the couple's Staffordshire terrier Deco Doggie, who was trapped under the submerged seven-metre vessel. "All I could think of was my dog. We're divers; we're used to being in the water," Ms Gregory said. "I took my lifejacket off and dived down under the boat and grabbed her and pulled her out. I couldn't let my little matie down." The Burleigh Heads couple and 13-year-old Deco were eventually plucked from the surf and taken ashore by recreational jet skiers who happened to be in the area. Ms Gregory's rescuer, Brisbane-based father-of-three Rob Dunn, was jet skiing nearby when he saw the boat come unstuck. Mr Dunn, who quickly came to the%couple's aid, said he was just doing what anyone would have done in the same situation. "I've seen so many people come to grief on that bar. It's a pretty treacherous stretch," he said. "I'm just happy to see two people come out of it all right. Plenty don't." A Currumbin Volunteer Marine Rescue crew also provided assistance, towing the stricken vessel to Kennedy Drive Boat Ramp. Back on dry land a clearly overjoyed Ms Gregory embraced her rescuers and her pet. "I want to thank everyone that came to help us. They were wonderful," she said. The couple, accompanied by Deco, who is named after the diving term decompression, regularly make the trip to Cook Island to dive. Ms Gregory said the minor boating hiccup wouldn't deter the couple from returning again. No stranger to the perils and unpredictability of the ocean, Ms Gregory, a retired scuba dive instructor, was a recipient of a Queens Medal for bravery following her role in a 1993 shark attack rescue. Unsurprisingly she remained relatively unfazed as yesterday's drama unfolded. "Diving is my life. When you're time's up, you're time's up and today wasn't that day," she said.



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