Director of acclaimed Sharkwater dies in dive accident

by    DiveSSI    6th February 2017
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Rob Stewart (Dec 28th 1979 - Jan. 31st 2017)
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Rob Stewart free diving with Caribbean reef sharks. Freeport Bahamas. (c) Veruschka Matchett
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Scene from the movie Sharkwater (c) Rob Stewart / Sharkwater
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Scene from the movie Sharkwater (c) Rob Stewart / Sharkwater
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Scene from the movie Sharkwater (c) Rob Stewart / Sharkwater
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Scene from the movie Sharkwater (c) Rob Stewart / Sharkwater

He had been in Florida to film sequel

Rob Stewart caught the world's attention in 2006 with his award-winning
documentary Sharkwater, in which he shone the spotlight on the global
slaughter of sharks. Last week, at age 37, he perished during a dive at
the Alligator Reef off the coast of Florida – whilst shooting a new
documentary on sharks.

Last Tuesday, on January 31st, during a dive at the Alligator Reef near
Florida Keys, filmmaker Rob Stewart went missing at approximately 17:15
local time. Immediately, a large-scale search involving ships and
helicopters was launched.
What had happened? So far, the circumstances of his disappearance are
as follows: Stewart had been using a rebreather during that fateful
dive. Shortly after 17:00 last Tuesday, he surfaced near the dive boat
together with a buddy, giving the OK sign. His companion fell
unconscious when climbing on board the dive boat, prompting the boat
crew to attend to him by supplying him oxygen. When the boat crew look
around to look for Stewart, he had disappeared. The crew immediately
raised the alarm and a search operation by the US Coast Guard began.

The search proved unsuccessful. It was only a short while after the
search had been called off that divers found the Canadian's body about
90 metres from his last known position at 60 metres' depth at Alligator
Reef last Friday.

On the official Sharkwater website, his family leaves these moving words:

“In Loving Memory
Rob has been found, peacefully in the
ocean. There are no words. We are so deeply grateful to everyone who
helped search, and happy that Rob passed while doing what he loved. We
are working on how best to honour his incredible work. The Stewart
family kindly asks that they are given some private time to grieve.
Thank you everyone.”

Filmmaker Rob Stewart won himself international acclaim with his film
Sharkwater, which called for the protection of sharks. He had been very
concerned about the protection of these predators and the marine
ecosystems.

A new documentary by Stewart will premiere in 2017.

See the Sharkwater trailer here.

Written by
DiveSSI
Date
6th February 2017
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