Order print   subscribe new

Autopsy Reports Canadian Filmmaker's Death as Accidental Drowning After Hypoxia

rob stewartn1000

Rob Stewart, who died in January this year (Photo: Tippy Bushkin / sharkwater.com, title image: Richard Sibbald / sharkwater.com)

Rob Stewart, the Canadian conservationist and filmmaker renowned worldwide for his documentary Sharkwater, about the illegal shark finning trade, died through drowning as a result of hypoxia (a lack of oxygen), according to recently released autopsy results.

Stewart, 37, died while filming the sequel to his pioneering film in January this year, after diving on the Queen of Nassau shipwreck off the coast of Florida. Reports at the time confirmed that he had disappeared after surfacing from his third dive of the day. His body was recovered just 100m from where he was last sighted after a three-day search by a team of volunteers which included the local fire department.

Stewart's dive buddy, Peter Sotis, who also provided the rebreathers they were using to conduct their dives on the 65m deep Queen of Nassau, was picked up by the dive boat where he is reported to have immediately lost consciousness. Stewart, who had been seen at the surface, disappeared while Sotis was being attended to.

rob stewart 1000

Rob freediving with a Caribbean reef shark (Photo: Verushka Matchett / Sharkwater.com)

Dr Thomas Beaver, who conducted the autopsy, reported that Sotis was 'treated with emergency oxygen and quickly recovered', adding that no further treatment was required and that no further symptoms were observed. As a result, Beaver concluded that decompression sickness was not the cause of the accident, as oxygen treats the symptoms but not the 'underlying pathophysiology' of DCS.

'Based on the information available to me at this time,' Dr Beaver reported, 'it is my opinion that both Peter Sotis and Robert Stewart suffered acute hypoxia at the surface. Once Mr Stewart lost consciousness he lost control of the breathing loop and drowned.'

The official cause of death, Beaver concluded, is drowning with the manner of death classified as accident.

Stewart's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in March against Peter Sotis' company, claiming that the 'aggressive levels' at which they were diving, coupled with a failure to adequately supervise Stewart after he surfaced, had led to his preventable death.

Production of Sharkwater: Extinction has continued in Stewart's memory, and is expected to be released in 2018. 

 

mulipack

THREE AMAZING DIVE eBOOKS - FREE

Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection of real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

Signupad

BuyDive2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar bahamas sidebar philippines sidebar mexico sidebar fijisidebar st helena

DIVE Partners

WAKATOBI DIVE-online-300x100-B Siladen 300x100 Aggressor 300x100 Fisheye banner 300 x 100 Dive Worldwide Oblu 100px X 300pxparalenzuk2

 

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below


PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final