British scuba diver, 29, dies exploring shipwreck off Albanian coast

British tourist, 29, dies in front of her boyfriend while scuba diving with a group off Albanian resort town: Instructor is arrested

  • Rebecca Gannon, 29, was taking part in dive off coast of Saranda, Albania
  • She was with her boyfriend when she got into trouble during dive and drowned 
  • Police have arrested diving instructor, named locally as Saimir Kushova, 45 
  • He is accused of safety failures and of hiring an unqualified employee 

A diving instructor has been arrested after a British holidaymaker drowned in front of her boyfriend off the coast of Albania.

Rebecca Gannon, 29, was with her boyfriend when she got into difficulty during the trip on Monday afternoon with a group of seven other divers.

Instructor Saimir Kushova, 45, leapt into the water to try and save her after spotting that she was in difficulty and managed to bring her to the surface.

Instructor Saimir Kushova (pictured), 45, has been arrested after a British holidaymaker drowned in front of her boyfriend off the coast of Albania

Instructor Saimir Kushova (pictured), 45, has been arrested after a British holidaymaker drowned in front of her boyfriend off the coast of Albania

A 29-year-old Briton has drowned during a scuba diving excursion near Saranda, in southern Albania (file image)

A 29-year-old Briton has drowned during a scuba diving excursion near Saranda, in southern Albania (file image)

Local media said Kushova (pictured) was being held on suspicion of violating work health and safety rules and illegally employing a dive instructor who was not fully qualified

Local media said Kushova (pictured) was being held on suspicion of violating work health and safety rules and illegally employing a dive instructor who was not fully qualified

Her boyfriend – who has not been named – could only watch helplessly as other instructors frantically tried to save her before racing back to the shore.

Video posted on Albanian news websites shows a body being carried frantically from a boat at Sarande on the southern Albanian coast, where paramedics were waiting.

Gerta Brozi who was on the boat and is co-owner of the Spiranca Diving Centre told MailOnline: ‘We really don’t know what happened and are waiting for the police to finish the investigation.

‘The British woman who died was here with her boyfriend and the both had PADI open water certificates so they were both fully qualified to dive with us.

‘She had been in the water for ten minutes and then she got into difficulty, there had been an issue with a regulator before but it was changed and was working fine.

‘The next thing we knew Saimir had spotted she was in trouble and dived in to try and rescue her.

‘Saimir did all he could he brought her to the surface and then he did CPR on her as the boat went back to the shore where the paramedics were waiting.

‘It was a very traumatic experience and the boyfriend was very upset by it, as was everyone else on the boat. We just don’t know what happened.

The diver's body was carried from a boat at Sarande on the southern Albanian coast, where paramedics were waiting

The diver’s body was carried from a boat at Sarande on the southern Albanian coast, where paramedics were waiting 

‘The wreck they were diving to isn’t particularly deep only seven to eight metres so it is not a very difficult dive. We are waiting for the results of the autopsy and Saimir is with the police.’

Local media said he was being held on suspicion of violating work health and safety rules and illegally employing a dive instructor who was not fully qualified.

On its website the dive centre says: ‘Our own passion for diving is shown by our commitment to ensuring our guests have the ultimate diving experience in a fun and relaxed environment.

‘Our dive centre is staffed and equipped to handle up to 20 divers per day. We have the latest dive equipment and compressors (air only). We also have our own boats enabling us to access the best off shore dive sites.

‘Dedicating our services to smaller groups enables us to focus more attention on our clients’ specific needs and requirements, committing more time to each guest and guaranteeing a higher quality of service from our experienced and friendly team.’

The party were diving onto the wreck of an Italian cargo ship sunk during World War Two, the Probitas which is inside the Bay of Saranda.

An FCDO spokesperson said: ‘We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Albania and are in contact with the local authorities.’

source: dailymail.co.uk