Investigation into Japanese diver’s death at Sodwana

An investigation is under way after an internationally-renowned Japanese diver died while filming a documentary on coelacanths and leatherback turtles in the Sodwana Bay section of iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal.

The expedition team in Sodwana Bay hours before professional diver Mitsuyoshi Tanaka tragically died Picture: iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso chief executive Andrew Zaloumis said professional diver Mitsuyoshi Tanaka‚ 55, died tragically while diving on Jesser Canyons at about 110m.

The dive team was using mixed gases and rebreathers.

Tanaka was a senior diver on a month-long dive expedition by the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers with South African specialist dive company Triton Dive Lodge.

Zaloumis said shortly before Tanaka had surfaced unconscious‚ the backup divers had entered the water to meet the deep divers at 70m‚ in accordance with the standard ascend safety procedures for this kind of technical dive.

He said the surface support boat team and surface divers immediately brought the unconscious diver onto the boat and tried to resuscitate him.

He was then taken to Mseleni Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Tanaka‚ a former specialist dive trainer for the military, had a passion for nature and was fascinated by the creatures he was filming.

– Tiso Black Star Group/TimesLIVE

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