Tributes paid to talented photographer who died in tragic diving accident

Tributes have poured in for the award winning photo-journalist and underwater photographer. Picture:  JUSTIN SPITTLE
Tributes have poured in for the award winning photo-journalist and underwater photographer. Picture: JUSTIN SPITTLE
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Tributes have been paid to a talented underwater photographer who died following a tragic diving accident off the west coast of Scotland.

Gavin Anderson, 53, had been diving when he got into trouble and was pulled from the water unconscious in the Firth of Clyde around midday last Wednesday near Gourock, Inverclyde.

A crew from the Argyll Ferries vessel Ali Cat diverted itself from a sailing between Dunoon to Gourock to assist in the rescue operation.

Helensburgh lifeboat service joined and a helicopter was scrambled from Prestwick after receiving emergency calls. A paramedic was lowered to the ferry from the aircraft and desperately tried to resuscitate him while the boat was brought ashore.

Gavin, of Milnathort, Kinross, was then rushed to Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock but sadly passed away. He leaves behind wife Jenny, son Josh and stepsons Arthur and Tom.

Tributes have poured in for the award winning photo-journalist and underwater photographer, who had been scuba-diving for over 30 years.

Close friend Tony Randell said: “Very very sad. Gavin and I were at boarding school together from the age of 13 to 18. One of my oldest friends. A tragic accident.

“Although I too am a diver he and I had never actually dived together. We skied together only one month ago for a week in Wengen. Rest in peace Gavin.”

Mark Evans, who runs Scuba Diver magazine, said: “Myself and the entire team at Scuba Diver extend our deepest condolences to wife Jenny Anderson and his entire family at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed.”

Jordan-based Aqaba Tourism, where Gavin had dived previously, posted: “Throughout our lives we make many new friends and there are some who become very dear to our hearts, unfortunately also comes a time when we must say goodbye to them because they have departed this life.

“The death of our friend Gavin Anderson leaves us with a taste of sorrow. RIP Gavin.”

Another friend added: “I was a good friend of Gavin and being an ex-Royal Navy diver and commercial diver we had a bond that we both cherished talking about our underwater adventures.

“But more than that he was a caring, kind and gentle human being who loved giving other people happiness, either through his photography or just simply his kindness. God rest his soul.”

In 1999, Gavin set up a photo studio in Milnathort and went on to photograph hundreds of weddings across Scotland.

His first dive book was published in 2001 and was called ‘Lonely Planet Dive & Snorkelling Guide to the Red Sea’.

He also worked on many aquatic campaigns including sharks promos for the Deep Sea World attraction which featured on Edinburgh buses and a National Bread Week underwater picnic for Warburtons.

More recently Gavin had been working on underwater modelling shoots in the UK and in April 2012 he was commissioned to shoot underwater artwork in the Turks and Caicos Islands for a new luxury development.

And in the last few years, he had rediscovered a love for the sport of diving and was interested in technical disciplines, as well as focusing on underwater photography and writing.

He also had an interest in skiing and worked as a ski guide.

Police Scotland confirmed enquiries into the incident are ongoing.

A spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a report of an unconscious diver who had been rescued from the water.

“Emergency services attended and the man was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital where he died shortly after. Enquiries are continuing.”

A Coastguard spokeswoman said: “HM Coastguard’s helicopter from Prestwick was called to assist with a medical incident in the Clyde area.

“The search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick was sent and winched a paramedic onto a vessel where the casualty had been taken.”