North Sea oil drilling pioneer dies in diving accident in Malta

A SENIOR oil consultant has died after a diving accident in Malta.

Dennis O'Hare, 57, from Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, died as a result of the accident on Friday afternoon.

O'Hare, who had more than 30 years' experience, is thought to have suffered a "traumatic event" underwater while diving at a popular location off Cirkewwa.

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His cousin Thomas O'Hare raised the alarm after O'Hare failed to return to shore by the appointed time.

His body was found floating on the surface by local fishermen and taken to land by divers from the Maltese Civil Protection Department.

O'Hare leaves his wife Lesley, and two teenage children, James and Kathryn. His elderly mother Mary O'Hare was being comforted by family and friends. Members of O'Hare's family flew to Malta yesterday to start the process of repatriating his body.

A spokesman for the family said: "Dennis was a huge personality, a loving husband, father, son and brother who had a great zest for life. He was one of the pioneers of North Sea drilling who went on to work for the biggest exploration companies in the world.

"After his family, diving was his passion and he was very, very experienced and meticulous about safety. Until the cause of death is established any speculation about the nature of his fatal accident is just that - speculation.

"The family wish to express their gratitude to the Maltese authorities for their help.

"All his family and friends are completely devastated at the loss of this wonderful man. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

O'Hare worked in the oil and gas drilling industry and had been in management on rigs all over the world. The family requested privacy to come to terms with their loss.

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O'Hare was a graduate of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt Universities and had lectured at Strathclyde University.

Scotland on Sunday journalist Martin Hannan, a friend of O'Hare for more than 30 years, said: "He was one of those people for whom the term larger than life was coined. He was hugely respected in his industry, and his close-knit family all adored him."

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