Scuba Diver Assault Off Hawaii Caught on Camera

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

An aggressive diver could end up in hot water for a “dive-by” caught on camera.

Scuba diver Rene Umberger said she was about 50 feet below the waters off Kona, Hawaii, on Thursday when another diver swam over and ripped off her breathing apparatus.

Umberger was filming damage to coral reefs when she was dragged into the shocking underwater assault. She now wants the other diver identified and charged.

“I think this man needs to be arrested immediately for attempted murder,” the 53-year-old environmentalist told NBC affiliate KHNL.

After Umberger managed to slip her breathing device back on, she captured the diver continuing to intimidate her. Her diving partner also had a camera.

From a distance, her attacker looked over and spread his arms wide.

“I honestly thought he was coming back for a second attack,” Umberger said. “I got up on the boat and I said, ‘Oh my God, someone just tried to kill me underwater.’”

Umberger believes the menacing diver, who appeared to be spearfishing, was unhappy when he noticed two cameras pointed in his direction. It’s not known whether he was spearfishing legally.

Either way, Umberger said, she was merely trying to document the reefs — not engage in a dustup with a fellow diver.

The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement said it would investigate the footage, which could be turned over to prosecutors.

Umberger said her experience diving helped her keep calm in an otherwise terrifying situation.

“Never in a million years did I think that someone would attack like that, especially from such a distance,” she said. “It’s not like we were close up or in their face.”

— Erik Ortiz
A diver rips off the air supply of another diver 50 feet underwater off the Kona Coast of Hawaii.KHNL