January 9, 2019
(CMR) Additional details are emerging about the boat accident yesterday that nearly sunk a 36-foot Atatude Divetech boat. CMR originally reported on the accident yesterday shortly after it happened but details were few at the time.
The incident occurred shortly before 1:00 pm at the commencement of a tourist safety/site briefing.
The hot pint Divetech boat was at a mooring ball at the world famous Kittiwake dive site and stationary; when it was hit by Cathy Church's boat. Eyewitnesses from the scene indicate that they looked up to notice that a Cathy Church's boat was headed directly at them with no one at the wheel. In other words, she would have left her boat unattended and went below for some reason – essentially leaving no one driving the boat and that was when he boat struck the Divetech boat.
An observer noted:
“It's difficult to miss a bright pink dive boat; but if you leave the helm of your boat at full speed to go downstairs where there are no windows … well something like this is quite probable then.”
The damage to the Atatude was substantial and included a broken window and hull damage. No one was injured.
Apparently, Church frequents an area called Orange Canyon at Northwest Point and was most likely headed to that area from Sunset House; where her office is located. The Divetech boat was badly damaged but did not sink. It made it to the Harbour House Marina; which is now remains pending a full assessment of the damages.
Another observer person commented:
“This whole situation was surreal! So she left the helm of her boat for an extended period of time with no one watching and with it full speed ahead and luckily drove into the side of this boat; because up next would have been about 50 snorkelers over the Kittiwake. Her and her crew had no idea anything was wrong until they hit the side of my boat. Her decision to leave the helm with it in gear is complete negligence and completely unacceptable.”
CMR understands that Church was on the boat with another crew member but nether was driving the boat at the time of the incident. We understand that The Joint Marine Unit is currently investigation the matter.
People were shocked to hear that the vehicle was left in full gear and operating at full speed with no one at the helm. One person commented:
“It's very fortunate that no one was injured even in the bath of the approaching boat. This is highly irresponsible and a full investigation needs to be carried out by the relevant authorities into this with a view to pressing charges.”
Cathy Church is a world renowned underwater photographer and operates Cathy Church's Photo Centre.
UPDATE July 4, 2019: 74-year-old Cathy Church has been charged with negligence in relation to this incident.