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Missing Diver’s Fishy Tale

Friday, September 8th, 2006 at 13:15 by Sarah Malaise

A diver from Guernsey who claimed to have been lost at sea for almost three days is in deep water with the authorities and his family alike after having been exposed as a fake.

Matthew Harvey, 35, sparked a £10 000 rescue operation after he failed to return from a solo dive on the island on Saturday. His wife and parents had been advised that he was probably dead.  Harvey was then picked up by a passing yacht on Monday evening, having been found apparently semi conscious near to where he had set off from.

He claimed to have been hit by a boat, knocking off his mask and sending him drifting out to sea on a tidal current towards the island of Jersey. He said that he had floated back to shore on the incoming tide, and been trapped in a gulley until he was rescued.

Coastguard and rescue authorities on Guernsey had been subjected to criticism for their failure to find the stricken diver, but it probably didn??t occur to them to look for him in Bournemouth, where he appears to have spent the weekend. A member of the public recognised him from the media coverage over his disappearance, and alerted the police.

Mr Harvey returned to the Channel Island on Monday afternoon, donned his diving gear, headed into the sea and waited to be rescued.

Police described his reasons for faking his disappearance to catch the ferry to the mainland as ??complex?, and yet to be fully explored, though speculation on the island suggests that he might have been enjoying a dirty weekend with a mistress. Maybe next time he??ll stick to more traditional deceit and pretend to go on a business trip.

Mr Harvey is currently being ??cared for? by his family. I bet he wishes he was back in the water.

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