Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tributes Pour In For “Hero” Freediver Stephen Keenan


Tributes from all over the Freediving world have been pouring in over social media after the news that Irish Freediver Stephen Keenan died whilst saving another Freediver at the Dahab Blue Hole on Saturday.

RELATED: Chief Of Safety Stephen Keenan Hailed Hero As He Dies While Saving Freediver

Freedivers have been expressing their utter shock at the loss of a hero in the sport, a humble and passionate Freediving Instructor who was renowned for his expertise in providing safety at international level competitions.

RELATED: In Pictures – Stephen Keenan Remembered

The Tributes

William Trubridge, whom Keenan was his Chief Of Safety as the annual Vertical Blue competition, said “We’ve lost our plucky Irishman: the heart of the blue holes in Egypt and the Bahamas.  RIP Stephen, you were one of a kind”

Leana Jovanovic Balta, Serbian National Freediving Record Holder posted: “Sweet, dearest Steve, you touched our hearts in so many ways. You’re a hero. We lost so much and you’ll be missed forever”

Best selling author of One Breath, Adam Skolnick, said: “Terribly sad news out of Dahab. Stephen Keenan, the best Irish Freediver of them all, and a pillar in the sport’s community of safety divers has died in Dahab.”

Sayaka Itagaki, one of Keenan’s safety team at the 2017 Vertical Blue competition posted in English and Japanese: “We lost our loved one unexpectedly. You are truly amazing person Stephen Keenan. You gave me wonderful experience and I learned about freediving and rescue. Still, I can’t believe we miss you a lots. You are always with us.
Thanks our legend”

Francesca Koe, Editor-at-Large and Head of Media at Vertical Blue posted a touching message in English and Gaelic: “#RIP #watertribe Between the stones, between the storm.  Between belief, between the sea #Irish. Idir cósta, idir cléibh Idir mé is idir mé féin.Tá mé i dtiúin”

Pim Vermeulen, a friend and fellow Freediving instructor in Dahab was raising a glass to Keenan “An Irish signature it will be from me for you Stephen Keenan and hell did you set signatures as Freediver, as friend, as business man! You will be missed…..but forever in our hearts!”

Dahab resident and World Champion Sara Campbell was shocked and devasted: “Steve I trust this is where you are now. Forever swimming free. It doesn’t come close to describing how I feel. Shocked, and deeply sad that we have lost such a great soul WAY too soon.
Swim free dear friend, the ocean and our planet is a poorer place without you”

Underwater photographer and Freediver Pepe Arcos posted on Facebook: “A very sad day in our Freediving World… One of our dearest friends has left us in the blue hole, Dahab. Totally heartbreaking news. Dear Stephen Keenan you will be missed. My sincere condolence to the family and close friends…”

Italian Record Holder Homar Leuci posted his shock after having been diving with Keenan only 2 weeks ago: “Only two weeks ago we were together in the blue.. and now it is unbelievable what happened, it is a sad day, you are A big man, great heart, wonderful and strong man.. It won’t be the same go down .. I hope to find you down deep .. I miss you Steve”

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.