Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mystery Scuba Diving Death Claims Life of Teacher

From The Chronicle Herald:

Linda Palmer loved scuba diving so much she couldn’t stay away from the ocean, say her friends and family.

The 28-year-old Dartmouth woman died in a diving accident Saturday morning off Sambro Island.

"She was very passionate about scuba diving," said her friend, Jennifer Oldford.

"She lived out in Calgary last year and moved back here because she just couldn’t deal with being so far away from water."

Ms. Palmer earned a degree in marine biology at Dalhousie University before she decided to become a teacher, said Ms. Oldford, who met her four years ago when they studied education at Mount Saint Vincent.

She taught sciences and mathematics in various schools around metro as a substitute.

"Linda was awesome," Ms. Oldford said. "She was always there to comfort you if you if you needed it, and to have a good time and a good laugh. She was hilarious."

Ms. Palmer’s friends and family still don’t know what caused her death.

"It’s completely unreal. It doesn’t make any sense," Ms. Oldford said. "She knew how to scuba dive. She was an instructor. . . . It’s not like she was just an amateur who made a mistake out there."

Ms. Palmer had been diving from the charter boat Ryan & Erin.

She had descended a short distance and surfaced again when the trouble started, said Fred Palmer, Linda’s father.

"I know she was on the surface when something happened," Mr. Palmer said.

"Something happened and she lost her mouthpiece, but got that back. Then they tell me she gave the thumbs-up she was OK, and then she passed out."

A coast guard rescue boat brought her ashore Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. Paramedics took her to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax in critical condition.

Doctors pronounced her dead at the hospital.

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