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Gerald Chia

Mark Longstreath
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Died 18th September, 2009

Paraphrased from the news report “1st time working for company, 2nd diving assignment for firm, 3rd day on the job, Diver drowns. 21-year-old diver's body found after two days. His badly decomposed body, missing off Western Singapore for two days, bobbed to the surface on Sunday evening; air tank taken by police for probe. In between running his own scuba diving firm, known as Jet Scuba, Mr Chia did freelance work for commercial diving companies. Relatives identified him through the tattoos on his body. The body of Mr Gerald Chia Jia Jie, 21, was found near the oil rig he had been working on, still clad in dark-blue work overalls and with his gas tank and face mask still in place.

A Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) boat, part of the search operations that had been under way for more than 50 hours, spotted the body at about 6pm. When Mr Chia went missing at around noon last Friday, he was on only his second assignment underwater for J Diving Services. He had started freelancing for the company only two days before that. He was carrying out installation works on the oil rig berthed in the Jurong West Anchorage at the time, 'his job was to install shackles on the rig, a relatively simple task', said the diving supervisor. 'Seasoned divers would take 15 minutes to do it, and newcomers, half an hour at the most', he added. Mr Chia had gone underwater, about 20m down, with a more experienced partner, as is the practice in the industry. The pair were supposed to surface together, but his buddy told his colleagues later that Mr Chia needed to share oxygen (it was air, simple SCUBA operation, TC) with him, although it was not clear why. Mr Chia took two breaths of air before ascending to the surface. The supervisor said Mr Chia's buddy followed him up, but lost sight of him and started searching for him without success. Friends said Mr Chia, who studied marketing at the Management Development Institute of Singapore, took up leisure diving only a few years ago, but quickly became a qualified dive instructor.” Reported in the Straits Times

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