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) OREEN ISLAND FATALTTT
: EVIDENCE. AT INQUEST. -,
An inquest in, the causes and ~. circumstances surrounding ISM ? 'death of James Bell, who died whilst performing diving open» . tions ' during the filming of tn«
.film ? "Typhoon . Treasure," at ?; Green Island on October 27 last, ! was commenced yesterday before.
. Mr.' R. C Grenier, Coroner. ~
1 Sergeant, W. Bonas examined, tb*, witnesses. "
Alexander- Bruce . Cummings;'-resid- ing at Green Island, stated he followed the occupation ' of cinematographer, and was'in the . employ bf the Com- monwealth Film Laboratory Pty. Ltd.| engaged filming underwater' scenes in connection with; the!,film "Typhoon Treasure." Witness had known Bell for- two years, and the company had engaged him to do diving and under- water; scenes for the male lead of the film. He was known as a "double." Bell' had : carried out several diving scenes for witness last year when he was engaged making shorts, and bad also been down a few times this year.
SWAYING WITH CURRENT.
On October 27 witness was in a . diving cylinder, and was informée! by another, man,-Gamble, that Bell was on his way down, and G-mble. asked witness 'if he could see Be'.L Witness replied "No," but shortly afterwards. the cylinder- was turned by the current,, and he caught a. glimpse of Bell, when he. appeared to tbe leaning against a reef of . corak. There did not appear to be anything wrongs with him, but later, when the cylinder was again turned, he noticed deceased, and there appeared to be something wrong with him. He was standing, leaning slightly back, and with his two "r rms outstretched, sway- ing with the current Bell did not have hold of either the life or air line, and -witness called Gamble on the phone and told him to give . Bell a tug on the life-line. "Ha noticed the line was pulled and there was no response. He then called to Gamble, "Pull him up quickly, there seems y>- be something wrong. Pull i mc up." When witness came te the
"surface the others were trying to get Bell into the flattie. His face-glass had been removed and witness noticed that his face was discolored. The hel- met and corselet were removed frön» ' Bell's diving suit, and . witness .tried]
artificial respiratory methods,- bot
¡without success. . ' ~
Witness stated that Bell was. ja* I robust looking man, but had mentioned at times that he had turns, and ottos said "that his ticker was not toó good," meaning his heart, and said that he . took strychnine. Witness) warned him abotit the risk. Bell sp« parently had no fears for diving, tai stated that he intended going to> Thursday Island -to follow' pearl dir« ing. The diving suit was modern, Mid in quite good order. They were en- gaged at work in 30 feet of waten which was considered shallow;-.for diving.
. . So lar as was. known. Bell, was .' i single man, and his mother resided ia Wattle Glen, Victoria.
SIGNALLED "«OX*^: Hector Joseph . Gamble, ,:a, elerS employed by the Railway Department, gave evidence that he went te; Green Island to spend a holiday, and while there assisted -Mr. B. Cummings - to take diving "shots" for a film. Bell was employed by the company as" "f diver. On October 27, Cummings! deceased and witness, together with four aborigines from Yarrabah Mis- sion, left Green Island by launch and anchored about one mile away on thc reef in 3J feet of water, with the in. tention of taking underwater, scenes, Cummings went belpw in a- cylindei but came up after about 20 minutéi and said the location was not suitable They then moved about 40, feet away, After lunch Bell donned the diving suit,, and after a two minutes' air tesl on deck went below, assisted bj ?Harold, an aboriginal,' who acted ai tender. Cummings also entered th« tylinder and was lowered. into th« water. Bell signalled "O.K.", on th« life-line, and .on reaching the' borton again signalled "O.K." '
, FACE SWOLLEN.
Witness added that'he spoke tc Cummings by telephone to. the cylin der, who said it was bumpy and aslcec tb be shifted. In reply "to a questioi by witness, Cummings said he coule see Bell.. The cylinder was moved, an« later Cummings called him on th« phone and said there appeared to bi something the matter with Bell, as.h< was in a reclining, position. Withes: ordered the tender to signal Bell, an« after two. calls wjth no response h] ordered him to be brought up. Hi was a dead-weight, and gave no af sistance when being hauled up. Thi face-glass of the helmet was remove* by Harold, and witness noticed tha Bell was bleeding from his nose.ajij ears, his face was swollen and dis colored. He appeared to be dead Meanwhile Cummings had;- beet brought, to the surface and'he itnmedi ately applied artificial . respiraf*j(| methods for some time, but withdú
success. ' The body was then brough' to Cairns; and the pplice notified..
"SUFFERED A STROKE." .
In reply to .Sergeant. Bonas, witnes said ." Bell appeared to be in goo: health, and. did not complain of . an' illness. . Only.;.seven or eight ^minute wouldthave elapsed1 from the time Bei went below until hei' was hauled to th surface, again. , A post-mortem wa held, and death revealed to be due t heart failure. .Witness formed th opinion at Jhe time that Belli had sui fered a stroke. _ -
The inquiry was adjourned to a dat to be " fixed. .