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Stephen's family had just marked mother's death


Stephen Keenan

Stephen Keenan

Stephen Keenan

The family of the Dublin man who died following a freediving accident in Egypt at the weekend had only recently marked the anniversary of his mother's death.

Stephen Keenan (39) died while going to the aid of another diver taking part in the adventure sport off the Red Sea resort of Dahab.

The Glasnevin man is understood to have got into difficulty while helping a female freediver who was trying to dive the arch of the Dahab Blue Hole.

Freediving involves diving to extreme depths on a single breath.

Witnesses said the female diver became disorientated underwater.


Mr Keenan is said to have seen the situation and gone underwater to provide help.

His brother, Gary, and father, Pater, have flown to Egypt to bring his body home.

On July 5, the family marked the fifth anniversary of Maura Keenan's death. She was a former teacher who was in her 60s.

Mr Keenan had studied microbiology at Trinity College, but had lived for about eight years in Egypt, where he was a freedive instructor.

A spokesperson for Deeper Blue, the diving company he worked for, said he had helped an Italian diver after she got disorientated at around 50 metres underwater.

Both divers ascended, but at a distance away from where the safety divers were expecting them.

The spokesperson said Mr Keenan "suffered an in-water blackout in the last 10 metres of the ascent".

He was alive when he was recovered from the water but died a short time later. The female diver suffered no injuries and surfaced unharmed.

The Blue Hole has claimed the lives of as many as 130 people over the past 15 years.

Mr Keenan had been very active in the diving community since 2009, when he discovered the sport in Dahab.

He was also a keen fisherman and loved hurling, having played the sport in his school years. He would often time his visits home to Dublin to coincide with major hurling fixtures so he could catch them at Croke Park.

A YouTube tribute has been posted on Facebook, showing an interview with Mr Keenan and images of him freediving.

In it, he says he is "living the way I like to live and attaining the things I like to attain".

"I'm happy with the way I live and doing something that didn't exist when I was growing up," he says, adding that he is lucky to be working at something that is also his hobby.

"Work is something that never bothers me because I enjoy it," he says.