American tourist left on Great Reef by tour boat company
An American tourist fought off panic when an Australian tour boat company accidentally left him stranded near the Great Barrier Reef in his snorkeling gear. Michigan 28-year-old Ian Cole says he grew frightened when he surfaced and realized the Passions of Paradise tour boat was gone last Saturday. Since American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan disappeared after being left behind by a boat in nearby Port Douglas in the 1990s, tour companies have followed strict head count rules, the AFP reports. You can watch an Australian TV news report on the incident in the video above. "Panic kicks in, your heart rate goes up, and you don't know what's going to happen. I was sucking water back into my snorkel and was really trying hard to stay calm," Cole told the Sydney Morning Herald. Cole saw another tour boat and says he swam about 15 minutes to reach it. ''When I got to the other boat they looked down like 'what the hell are you doing here?' They said my boat had left 15 minutes ago. I thought they were joking.'' The staff member who failed to do an accurate headcount has been fired, the paper says, and Cole was given a $200 restaurant voucher and a refund for the trip.