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ROV NEWS: TV show host dies in Palau

Posted on 15.12.2003 - 05:44 EST in GENERAL NEWS by ginamc

Rons_ROV_Links writes:  By Scott Radway

KOROR, Palau ## A host of a History Channel series featuring sunken ships drowned during a 250-foot dive to the USS Perry, a World War II wreck.

Michael Norwood, 36, an experienced British scuba diver and instructor for deep dives...

had visited the wreck twice, but experienced yet unexplained difficulties Saturday, said Christopher Cassel, the producer of "Deep Sea Detectives."

Norwood reportedly died as two fellow divers tried to bring him to the surface.

"This is a tremendous loss for everyone involved," Cassel said. "He was a very experienced and very enthusiastic participant in the series. He also was very kind and charismatic, and he will be deeply missed by his family and friends."

The Perry survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but was sunk Sept. 13, 1944, when it struck an underwater mine. The Perry was attempting to clear the mines for the invasion of the Japanese-held islands two days later.

Located from 240 to 260 feet off the island of Angaur and often subject to strong currents, the Perry is accessible only to expert divers using specialized equipment. Recreational divers rarely break the 100-foot mark and are advised never to pass 130 feet.

During the first two days of diving, the crew reached the wreck but was unable to film because of strong currents, Cassel said. On the third day, the currents subsided enough to film, but when Norwood reached 250 feet, he signaled to two fellow divers he had run out of air, Cassel said.

"He reported he was out of air, but he had reserve tanks," Cassel said. "We are not sure why he did not switch to his reserve tanks."

A statement released from the Palau Ministry of Justice said it is unknown whether the death occurred because of "diver error or health problems." An autopsy has not yet been performed.

After Norwood signaled he was out of air, Cassel said, the other two divers attempted to bring him to the surface while sharing their air with him. But Norwood lost consciousness during the long, slow ascent, and drowned. Norwood is expected to be flown to London for his burial.

The History Channel crew cut short its filming and no decision has been made on whether the Perry episode will be completed at a later date. In all, 12 episodes of "Deep Sea Detectives" have been filmed, some of which already have aired. Norwood participated in nine episodes.

Originally published Thursday, December 11, 2003

Source: Pacific Daily News

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