Tributes paid to ‘hero’ diver Stephen Keenen

by Emma Nolan

TRIBUTES have been paid to “hero” and much-loved diver Stephen Keenen who died tragically in Egypt last week.
The 39-year-old Glasnevin man died while saving a woman from drowning in the town of Dahab on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
Having lived there since 2009, Stephen was a co-owner at Dahab Freedivers and also regularly operated as a safety officer at freediving competitions. He was a highly skilled and respected freediver.
His death occurred at the arch of the Dahab Blue Hole, an area which is notorious for diving deaths.
It is understood that the female diver got disorientated underwater and Mr Keenan dived in to help her but suffered an in-water blackout and died on the way to hospital.
Many dedicated tributes to heroic Stephen on Facebook, with friends, family and his past pupils expressing their sadness.
Stephen’s company Dahab Freedivers left a touching message.
It read: “Many of you have already heard the tragic news, our smiling Irish left us yesterday while doing a deep safety; he was doing what he cherished the most: being fully committed for others.
“We in Dahab are out of breath. We need first some peace and silence for few days. It was a traumatic experience for many freedivers who were there and they absolutely did the best they could to bring back Steve to us. But it was just impossible.”
One past pupil said: “It’s very rare to meet someone who truly lives life to the full. Steve was one of those people. Typical that he lost his life trying to save someone else. Thoughts are with you all.”
Another said: “Our chief, our family, our best buddy you are sorely missed. We love you to the bottom of the ocean and back. You will not be forgotten.”
Stephen is survived by his family, friends, and many colleagues in the freediving community all over the world.

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