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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Tributes paid to 'much loved' diver who died saving woman in Egypt

Stephen Keenan
Stephen Keenan

The family of a Dublin man who died while saving a woman from drowning in Egypt have flown out to the country following his death.

Stephen Keenan (39), a diving instructor, is understood to have got into difficulty when rescuing a female diver in the town of Dahab.

Mr Keenan, from Glasnevin, had been living in Egypt since 2009.

The Red Sea resort, on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula, is hugely popular with divers from all over the world.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and had offered consular assistance to the man's family.

Mr Keenan's father and younger brother are understood to be very shaken up by the situation, and flew out to Egypt together yesterday.

Mr Keenan was a co-owner at Dahab Freedivers and also regularly operated as a safety officer at freediving competitions.

His death occurred at the arch of the Dahab Blue Hole, an area which is notorious for diving deaths.

Help

It is understood that the female diver got disorientated underwater, and Mr Keenan dived in to help her.

However, sources said that he suffered an in-water blackout and, despite being alive when recovered from the water, it is believed that he died on the way to hospital. The female diver suffered no injuries from the incident and surfaced unharmed.

The Blue Hole has claimed the lives of around 130 people in the past 15 years and is known as one of the deadliest diving sites in the world.

Several tributes were posted online for the popular diver, who played a major role in the diving community in the area.

One friend described Mr Keenan's role in the diving world as "iconic" and the "heart of freediving".

"When I think of being with Steve, though, it is almost always likely to make me smile or laugh and I am sure it's the same for many," he said.

"He rescued me once from deep when I ruptured my ear on a dive and blacked out on ascent, a hard rescue dive, but he would never have turned, that's who he was.

"I'll always owe him for that one. Hard to believe we won't meet again."

Another pal said that Mr Keenan was "so loved".

"Heavy, heavy hearts. No one lived or loved life like you did, Stephen Keenan," she said.

"The world feels a little less bright today. Your Colorado fam will miss you forever - we are so lucky to have had you in our lives.

Loved

"Sending love and light to all who knew you. Rest well, Keeno. You are so loved," she added.

Among items was a video on YouTube earlier this year of Mr Keenan speaking about his love for his job.

In the video he described his job in freediving as a hobby and "living the way you like to live" in his eight years residing in Egypt.

"I'm happy the way I live, I'm doing something that didn't exist when I was growing up," he said.

"I didn't expect to become the owner of a freediving centre and living in Egypt, it's something I'd never planned on doing.

"I think that I'm lucky that I do something that's also my hobby."

No details on Mr Keenan's repatriation have yet been announced.

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