Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What we're here for

Usually, I cringe whenever a grieving relative or friend of somone who has died too young while risking their necks in the pursuit of fun, fame, fortune, or plain old curiosity is quoted in the newspaper or on TV saying, "At least my dead beloved went doing something my beloved one loved to do."

But in this case I understand.

If there is a God, I believe this is the job he gave us to do. He built a universe full of mysteries to figure out, hid himself deep within in it, and left us just one instruction, "Come find me."

That's my way of saying I think we're here to figure out how it all works.

And if that's the case, then people like David Bright are doing God's work.

BOSTON -- David Bright, a leading researcher into underwater exploration and shipwrecks, has died after diving to the site of the Andrea Doria off Nantucket, where he was working in preparation for the wreck's 50th anniversary. He was 49.

Bright, of Flemington, N.J., resurfaced from a dive late Saturday with decompression sickness and went into cardiac arrest, according to the Coast Guard. He was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital a short time later.

Bright was a historian and an experienced technical diver who had explored the Titanic, Andrea Doria and other shipwrecks many times -- 120 times for the Andrea Doria.

The Andrea Doria was headed from Genoa, Italy, to New York when it collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm on July 25, 1956, killing about 50 people. The Italian luxury liner lies at the bottom of the Atlantic in 200 feet of water.

Bright had an extensive collection of artifacts and established the Andrea Doria Museum Project, which lends artifacts to museums. He was the founder of the Andrea Doria Survivor Reunions Committee.

"His passion has been growing for a little over 30 years, all kinds of shipwrecks and getting to know them," Elaine Bright, his wife of 23 years, said Monday.

"It's very traumatizing to his entire family but we know that he's happy. It's a very sad thing, but water, scuba diving was what he wanted to do," she said.

Update: Commenter Susan Paxton gave me the heads up to Bright's blog, Shipwrecks.


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