Rob Stewart’s diving accident

Feb 18, 2021 | 0 comments

On January 31, 2017, Sharkwater director and filmmaker Rob Stewart died in a diving accident while filming Sharkwater Extinction.

As they were performing the third deep dive of the day with rebreathers and while successfully surfacing, his partner lost consciousness on the surface. The crew of the dive boat rescued Peter Sotis, but did not notice that a few moments later Rob Stewart also lost consciousness and vanished. His body was found a few days later a short distance from where they had resurfaced.

Immediately after his death, rumors blamed Peter Sotis for the accident. In addition to being his buddy, Peter was also the supplier of the rebreathers systems used for diving and supported their diving through his company. It is said that he was the one who persuaded the inexperienced for this type of dive director to perform three dives to a depth of over sixty meters that day.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy ruled that the decompression sickness was not the cause of the accident, as in the case of Peter Sotis emergency oxygen was administered and he recovered immediately without any symptoms of the disease. According to the forensic report, Rob Stewart had lost consciousness due to hypoxia, sank in the water and drowned, ruling the case as a diving accident.

The family of the deceased filed a lawsuit against Peter Sotis and his company, claiming that Rob was guided in a dive beyond his experience and Sotis’ company failed to support him at the time of the incident.

According to the company’s defensive line, there is no question of inexperience, as the award-winning filmmaker was a instructor with multiple certifications in technical diving, while he was also trained in the specific rebreather system with more than fifty recorded dives.

On the other hand, rEvo, the company that produced these rebreathers, claimed that if anyone is responsible for the accident it is the production company of “Sharkwater” as during the dives they did not follow the applicable safety standards.

Four years after the accident, the trial is still ongoing. In 2018, despite the tragic event, the documentary “Sharkwater Extinction” was released in memory of the late Rob Stewart.

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