Diver’s autobiography explores the depths

David Beckett book front cover

David Beckett book front cover - Credit: submitted

A world-renowned deep sea diver who has helped in some of the worst sea disasters in the UK has published his autobiography chronicling his experiences.

The Loonliness of a Deep Sea Diver by David Harrison Beckett, explores his life as a deep sea diver, a position he first took up at the end of the 1960s and which saw him submerged to depths of over 500ft.

The book has been written alongside biographer Paul Zanon.

Mr Beckett, 68, who is now retired and lives with his wife Jenny in Coltishall, has had brushes with death on multiple occasions and seen many of his colleagues involved in fatal accidents.

He also lead a diving probe in into why the Estonia ferry sank with the loss of 900 lives. Speaking about how he coped he said: 'We used black humour, if you do not it gets to you.'


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One of the most notable tragedies he was involved with was when helping to recover 45 bodies of the victims of the Sumburgh Chinook Helicopter crash disaster in the Shetland Islands in 1986.

The helicopter was on approach to land at Sumburgh Airport returning workers for the Brent oilfield.

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Mr Becektt, who eventually became global construction manager for company Rockwater, said it was the worst he saw while he was a diver describing it as 'pretty grim' but said the main thing at the time was being able to recover the bodies of people so they could be returned to their families.

He has also taken part in treasure hunts in the Philippines and almost clinched a contract to salvage the bursar's safe from the Titanic, but just lost out in the end.

Since retiring Mr Beckett, who has two children and three grandchildren, has took part in other projects including a development building 48 homes in South Africa.

He said he had made the decision to write down his experiences after talking to people and being told he should get his stories on paper.

The book is available to buy now from book shops and on the Amazon website. It has been released by Pitch Publishing and is £16.99.

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