Damien Olsen with the wetsuit he was wearing when he was accidently shot with a speargun off Great Keppel Island late last year. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Damien Olsen with the wetsuit he was wearing when he was accidently shot with a speargun off Great Keppel Island late last year. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Diver didn't realise spear went through chest at first

DAMIEN Olsen was just about to shoot his mate a text message when a loaded spear gun set off and lodged a 1m-long steel spear through his chest.

When that happened the rookie spearfisherman carried on texting his friend.

At that point, Damien hadn't realised that a steel spear had gone through him, amazingly missing his vital organs.

"I felt this sharp pain just below my ribcage but I didn't want to stress too much because it would have made things worse," he said.

His mates nearby frantically told Damien not to move, as they quickly dialled emergency authorities.

He and his crew were about 400m off Great Keppel Island, where he was out on his seventh spearfishing excursion, when the loaded spear gun fired on January 19.

"I remembered getting back to Great Keppel Island, but after that, and on the flight to Rockhampton, I just shut my eyes... I don't remember anything after that."

The spear was trimmed at Rockhampton Hospital but he had to undergo a delicate operation, to have the remainder removed, at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Damien had planned to take his own boat out onto the water that day.

But, when he encountered mechanical difficulties, a mate offered to take his boat out.

The Yeppoon electrician was yesterday back at home.

He was nursing two broken ribs and a few scars, after spending more than two weeks recovering in Brisbane.

Damien told The Morning Bulletin he didn't know what made the spear gun go off but he did know the person who loaded it.

"I know it's a golden rule not to have a loaded spear gun on a boat."

The spear fisherman remained lucid throughout the ordeal. Photo Contributed
The spear fisherman remained lucid throughout the ordeal. Photo Contributed Contributed

 

The incident, that literally came within inches of claiming his life, is not going to deter Damien from spear fishing again.

He was unsure when he would be returning to work. In four weeks he will have a check up.

He planned to get back onto the water once he was fit enough to do so.

"I want to thank everybody who helped me on that day... my mates and the emergency crews," he said.


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