Diver Rescues Semi-Conscious Fellow Diver


Steven Barnard (right) and David Hartley at the Buckingham Palace reception

A scuba diver who swam down to rescue a semi-conscious fellow diver has received a bravery award at Buckingham Palace.

Steven Barnard, 30, from Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, was presented with a Royal Humane Society silver medal, one of the UK’s highest civilian bravery honors.

His rescue of friend David Hartley at Dorothea Quarry in Gwynedd last December was called “remarkable.”

Mr. Hartley said: “I would not be here today if it was not for this man.”

Before the presentation, society secretary Dick Wilkinson described Mr. Barnard’s actions as a “remarkable rescue.”

The dive started to go wrong six minutes in, when, 36m down, Mr. Hartley began plunging head first out of control.

Mr. Barnard signaled a third diver to remain where he was, then chased after Mr. Hartley and caught him.

Mr. Hartley, from Bangor, Gwynedd, began convulsing and inadvertently punched his rescuer dislodging his mask.


The drama unfolded underwater at Dorothea Quarry in December

Mr. Barnard lost his grip and his companion “disappeared in a cloud of silt” at a depth of 50.7m, after 25 minutes in the water.

But Mr. Barnard, who carried the Olympic torch at Morecambe in June, managed to find him again and struggled with diminishing air supplies to get him back to the surface.

Mr. Hartley recovered after being airlifted to a hospital decompression unit by a RAF helicopter.

Mr. Barnard was presented with his honor by the society’s president, Princess Alexandra.

After the presentation, he said: “I was just glad we got a positive outcome. It was a situation which required doing something pretty drastic quickly and I am very happy it came out the way it did.”

Shaking Mr. Barnard’s hand at the event, Mr. Hartley said: “If it had been anyone else, I doubt I would have survived. He was brilliant. He refused to give up on me, despite the risk to himself.

“If ever anyone deserved a medal he does.”

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