Lucky scuba divers found after 18 hour search

Two scubadivers have been discovered alive after spending the night stranded off theGreat Barrier Reef in Australia.

Britishdiver Richard Neely, 38, and American Allison Dalton, 40, had gone missing on Friday afterresurfacing some 200 metres from their chartered diving boat following anexcursion to a reef.  But after an18-hour search involving a dozen aircraft, the couple were seen around ninemiles from their original diving point near the WhitsundayIslands, close to the coast of Queensland.  They were winched to safety following theirdiscovery and have been flown to hospital in Townsville, according to theBrisbane Times newspaper.

Policeofficials said they owed their survival to their diving ability and havingremained calm despite their predicament. They had allegedly strapped themselvestogether using their weight belts, conserved energy, stayed as a buddy team waitingfor rescue.  It is thought that Mr Neelyand Ms Dalton chose to remain where they were until being rescued, rather thanswimming against the strong current.