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Oregon Scuba Diver Saved in South Pacific

April 24, 1996

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ A quick-thinking Australian diver saved an Oregon man who ran out of air and lost consciousness while scuba diving off a South Pacific island.

Raymond Montgomery, a U.S. Army reserve sergeant from Canby, Ore., said Wednesday that he ran out of air while diving in 165 feet of water near an old shipwreck off the island of Espiritu Santo, in Vanuatu, on Tuesday.

Mark Deaves of the Royal Australian Navy was taking part in a diving exercise nearby when he saw Montgomery in trouble.

He swam to the stricken man, gave him compressed air from his own supply and then helped him to a nearby boat.

``I was unconscious when I was pulled on board,″ Montgomery said.

``I’m very grateful. He probably saved me from becoming a vegetable as well as saving my life.″

Montgomery was flown to Townsville Hospital in Australia where he is recovering.

A hospital spokesman said he did not suffer permanent injuries.

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