Underwater attack on scuba diver in Hawaii caught on camera

A woman was 'almost killed' when her breathing equipment was ripped off

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The Independent US

The terrifying moment a scuba diver’s breathing equipment was ripped off by an underwater attacker in Hawaii has been caught on camera.

Rene Umberger, a conservationist, was documenting damage to coral reefs off the coast of Kona last week when she saw two unknown divers.

The footage shows them appearing to collect either tropical fish or coral before one of the divers starts swimming towards her.

The screen is covered with bubbles as her regulator, which controls the pressure of breathing gas, is pulled out.

At 50ft beneath the surface, she could have panicked and been unable to reach the surface to breathe, but she managed to insert the mouthpiece and continue filming.

Shooting to the surface too quickly can cause paralysis or even death with "the bends", when oxygen bubbles form in the body because of rapid decompression.

“This man needs to be arrested immediately for attempted murder,” she told the KGMB television station.

“I honestly thought he was coming back for a second attack. I got up on the boat and I said 'Oh my God, someone just tried to kill me underwater'.”

The State Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is investigating the incident.

Although collecting fish from coral reefs is legal with a permit, it is widely opposed by conservation groups.

Ms Umberger, 53, was the director of For The Fishes, which opposes the aquarium trade’s use of reefs around Hawaii.