Nine years after a terrifying scuba accident crushed his spine, a paraplegic scuba diver is back in the water helping disabled divers. Rich Osborn, 30, was teaching scuba diving on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 2009 when he had his life-changing accident.
The freak incident took place on August 23, 2009. Then aged 21, Osborn took part in a deep dive with other instructors when they ran out of air at a depth of 30m. After reaching the surface, he was rushed to a decompression chamber but was left with permanent damage to his fourth vertebrae in the thoracic part of his spine. Doctors told him he would never walk again after spending over a week in a decompression chamber and attend six months of rehabilitation classes.
Osborn now says he has found a new lease of life scaling mountains and helping other people with a spinal cord injury. He returned to scuba diving twelve months after the accident and now teaches other disabled divers around Scotland and abroad.
He said: “Scuba diving was my life and I’m very lucky I could do that but I still want to travel and challenge as much as possible what I can do with a disability. “Just because you have a spinal cord injury doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and achieve.”
Too far down
Osborn now lives in South Queensferry, West Lothian, set out on an adventurous deep dive with three other professional divers in south-east Cyprus.