Aussie mum's frightening moment on Fiji diving trip

·3-min read

An Australian family was left stranded in the middle of the ocean, after going on a cruise-ship organised dive in Fiji.

Last month, Newcastle mum Justine Clark and her two sons, Felix, 18 and Max, 20, went diving off Mana Island.

The dive was coordinated by a company subcontracted by Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, the ABC reported, and the three were with another tourist and divemaster.

A storm was brewing as the boat took the party of five to the offshore diving site known as The Supermarket. Ms Clark said they were about 20km away from any island.

The party was below the surface for just under an hour, only to find their boat was gone. Out at sea, it was windy and the swell was about two metres. The sky was growing dark due to the clouds.

Ms Clark said the divemaster was shocked they had just been left there.

Pictured is Justine Clark and her two sons who went on a holiday to Fiji
Justine Clark and her two sons were left stranded in the ocean in Fiji while on a diving tour. Source: ABC

Group swims for 50 minutes before being saved

The five people on the diving trip started swimming for an island that was visible in the distance, at the instruction of the divemaster.

"I can't impress how concerned I was for everyone's health, sharks and the sense of determination I had to reach the island in a calm manner," Ms Clark told the ABC.

"The maternal drive in me was something I had not felt since the birth of my first son."

About 50 minutes into the swim back to shore, the divemaster noticed a small boat was travelling in their direction.

The group inflated their marker buoys, hoping they would attract attention.

The garbage collector on board the tiny boat ended up saving the group of divers. Ms Clark said they were all so happy he had saved them.

Not long after being rescued by the garbage collector, the boat tender who left them in the middle of the water came over to the group.

 Captain Cook Cruises ship is seen in Yasawa Islands, Fiji. Source: Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images, file
The boat left the group in the middle of the ocean, after they met bad weather. Pictured is a Captain Cook Cruises ship in Fiji's Yasawa Islands. Source: Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images (file pic)

Ms Clark said he apologised and said he was "so scared". He apparently told the captain over the radio he had lost the group.

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji told the ABC in a statement the tender boat was blown away in the conditions and was having trouble tracking the divers' bubbles.

An internal review has already been undertaken, and safety precautions have been changed. The company said the incident was unprecedented.

However, Ms Clark stressed the importance of operators being prepared for those types of situations.

"I have no desire to damage the tourism of the area and lives of the local Fijians dependent upon this trade,' Ms Clark said, reported Daily Mail Australia.

"However, Captain Cook Cruises should be applying safety standards consistent for such sea emergencies in the countries they operate outside Australia."

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