A diver in Hawaii came within a heartbeat of being struck by a speeding boat, and it was all caught on camera.
According to Hawaii News Now, 30-year-old Christopher Lastra was spearfishing off the shore of Honolulu’s Magic Island when he saw a boat barreling toward him when he resurfaced.
Lastra shared footage of the startling moment on the YouTube channel Men of the Spear-It.
“This is why you always dive with a buoy. My buoy got swept away with the current last week and I had scheduled to pick one up tonight, however I went for a short shallow reef dive thinking I’d be ok,” he wrote in the video’s caption. “Bad decision to dive in high traffic area.”
“As I was hunting Mu and Uhu I hear a boat coming. I should have stayed under the water but shoot up to the surface to get eyes on it,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the boat at that time was already within 5 yards… headed straight towards me. I yell ‘Ahh’ (at the same time trying to inhale) as I push off the boat to get away from the center where I knew the propeller would be.”
Buoys are floating devices commonly used to navigate or warn swimmers and boaters of dangers.
According to Hawaii News Now, Lastra is originally from California and has been diving for over a decade.
Kendall Smith, U.S. Coast Guard Diving Supervisor of the Honolulu Sector, told the news outlet that divers should use dive flags or buoys to prevent accidents with speeding boats.
“Like in this instance, he’s very lucky to be alive,” Smith said. “Secondly, I noticed in that video he was by himself. You should always dive with a buddy, have a plan and hope for the best but always be prepared for a scary instance like that.”
“If someone was diving, or had a diver down flag, it’s a no wake zone for 200 yards outside of that diver down flag or buoy,” he explained.
Lastra told Hawaii News Now that when he saw the boat coming toward him, all he could think about was his reckless decision not to use a buoy.
“Your life flashes before your eyes when you face death, but for me, I was just thinking I’m an idiot,” Lastra said. “I should have had a buoy out here. I knew the law, and I just decided not to bring it.”
In the video’s caption, he said he accepted full responsibility for the close encounter.
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“Even though boats are supposed to go around the channel marker, I accept 100% responsibility since I wasn’t using a dive buoy,” he wrote.
He continued: “Luckily God was looking out for me. Only my fin was damaged. Always dive with a buoy.”