Andy Phillips, a British dive professional who called Utila, Honduras home for nearly two decades, passed away last week in a dive accident in Canada.
A PADI Platinum Course Director and technical instructor trainer, Phillips was diving with a buddy in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario on June 11 when he went missing. A multi-day search proved fruitless.
News of his passing brought an outpouring of grief in the dive community.
Mark Evans, editor of Scuba Diver Magazine, wrote of Phillips:
“It is always hard to write about diving fatalities, but especially so when the person in question is a good friend. I had known Andy Phillips from when I first started in the industry way back in 1999, and he was hugely supportive from the get-go. I always looked forward to catching up with him at dive shows around the world, and his infectious personality and massive perma-grin will stay with me forever.
“I will always remember one particular DEMA in Las Vegas where late into the evening Andy, myself and now-RAID supremo Paul Vincent Toomer presided over the ‘Table of Doom’ drinking far too many sambucca shots, inebriating anyone who joined us, and putting the world to rights. You will be sorely missed, my friend.”
The management at Utila Dive Center wrote:
“For 20 years, Andy Phillips developed and fostered both the diving community and industry on Utila and by extension, Central America. Utila as we know it — unique and exuberant — exists as it does because of him.
“Fast forward two decades, tens of thousands of students, countless professional designations & accolades and the carcasses of nearly as many Lionfish, Andy was an unsurpassed ambassador and icon for an industry he helped pioneer.
“Andy made an immeasurable impact to the community, the conservation and preservation of marine environment and notably the development of professional scuba divers throughout the world. The impact that leaves our hearts broken is the one he made on everyone who had the privilege to know him. He was a thoughtful dive buddy, meaningful mentor, and best friend to so many that will now miss him dearly.”
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