Shark Lady oorleef duikongeluk

‘n Helpende hand teenoor ‘n siek vriendin het Kim Maclean, beter bekend as Shark Lady van Shark Lady Adventures, bykans haar lewe tydens ‘n fratsongeluk gekos. Die fratsongeluk het tydens ‘n duiksessie om na seeskilpaaie naby die eiland van Tenerife in Spanje te kyk, plaasgevind. “I am thankful to be alive,” was Kim se eerste opmerking ná die voorval.

Op 15 Julie vanjaar het Kim Suid-Afrika op uitnodiging verlaat om ‘n siek vriendin te vergesel wat persoonlike sake op die eiland wou gaan uitsorteer. Met hulle aankoms het die avontuurlustige Kim sonder aarseling begin om toerisme attraksies en duikmoontlikhede te ondersoek. Sy was baie opgewonde toe sy verneem dat sy op die 21ste tussen die enorme karet- en leerskilpaaie (loggerhead- en leather turtles) kon gaan duik. Ná ‘n 20 minute rit op ‘n rubberboot tot naby ‘n grot, was sy verstom oor die kristalhelderwater, met etlike bote en dosyne toeriste wat besig was om te snorkel en te duik.

“Out of eight divers it was only myself and another lady from France that was experienced qualified divers and the rest were all given only a 20 minute briefing on how to scuba. I was amazed that this was of the norm and allowed,” het Kim gesê. “I rolled off the rubber duck at the go ahead of my Dive master and was amazed at the beautiful warm crystal clear water. I dived down to about 10 meters and after 15 minutes I saw my first turtle, a leatherback, and then 5 minutes later another one. Then I heard a rumble noise and looked up, and the next thing I felt was being dragged. I am not sure what was happening but I had no control and my mask came off my head. I only remember being dragged at least 10 meters. This is the last I remember before I came to in an ambulance.”

Kim is deur ‘n bewegende boot se anker gehaak en haar mede-duiker het boontoe geswem om die skipper te stop. Op daardie stadium was Kim baie naby aan verdrinking met die hoeveelheid water wat sy ingeneem het. Sy is met suurstof gehelp en inderhaas strand toe geneem waar ‘n ambulans reeds gewag het.

“For me and what I can remember, it was a near death situation and 15 days in ICU and 3 days in a ward,” vertel Kim. “I was plugged full of needles to help drain the water and prevent pneumonia developing in my lungs. I also suffered heart failure, and on the Monday night my heart rate hit 199, so I had to be given an injection to stop my heart completely and to then restart the heart to bring it back to a normal heart rhythm.”

Op Saterdag, 26 Julie het haar spesialis haar ontslaan en op Maandag, 28 Julie het sy haar “fit to fly” sertifikaat ontvang. Sy is vol lof teenoor die spesialiste en verpleegpersoneel vir uitstekende diens en sê sy was in goeie hande.

“Then on the first day out of hospital, I received the terrible news that my father, Don MacLean had died tragically. All I wanted to do was to return to my hometown, Hermanus. I would like to thank all of those that kept me going by sending messages and making phone calls.

It was the only thing that kept me going. I am back safe, and can only say that when one faces a near death situation one looks at life from a very different angle, and appreciates so much more. I do hope to be back in the water soon, but will take one step day by day.”

Dit was voorwaar ‘n net-net ontkoming van die dood en ‘n ervaring wat Kim sekerlik nie gou sal vergeet nie. Vyf jaar gelede, op 18 Julie 2009, is Kim se Embassy-droom verwesentlik met die amptelike opening van die White Shark Embassy te Kleinbaai.

Hardus Botha

Kim Maclean, alias Shark Lady, saam met een van die spesialiste op die eiland van Tenerife, Spanje wat, ná ‘n frats-ongeluk, om haar lewe geveg het
Kim Maclean onderwater in haar duikpak naby die eiland Tenerife, Spanje, kort voor ‘n frats-ongeluk wat bykans haar lewe gekos het