Mystery of couple abandoned in shark-infested waters after ‘death wish’

An adventurous couple who were abandoned in shark-infested waters seemingly predicted their fate in a chilling diary entry.

Tom and Eileen Longergan were last seen diving 24 years ago and still to this day, no one knows whether they were eaten alive or drowned while on a tour in the Great Barrier Reef.

Prior to their trip, Eileen had written that her husband had a "death wish" which later sparked allegations of a "murder-suicide."

The American couple arrived to Port Douglas in northern Australia and spent around an hour exploring under the surface.

But after they peeked their heads out of the water, they noticed the rest of the divers had disappeared, along with their Outer Edge boat on January 1998.

Despite the boat travelling back to Port Douglas, it took two days before anyone had realised that the Longergans' had been left behind.

They were deserted around 40 miles off the coast of Queensland, and left to endure a deadly fate, which later became a hit movie called Open Water.

The pair, who tied the knot while studying at university, had fallen in love with each other's passions which inspired Tom to enjoy scuba diving as much as Eileen.

Eileen knew her partner of 10 years and was well aware of the eerie thoughts that Tom had been having earlier on.

Two weeks before the Great Barrier Reef dive, the 28-year-old wrote: "He hopes to die a quick and painless death, and he hopes it happens soon.

"Tom's not suicidal, but he's got a death wish that could lead him to what he desires and I could get caught in that."

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And although there were signs which indicated to a drowning incident, it was difficult to ignore the frequent sightings of the beasts which were spotted off the Queensland coast.

Both the cops and the Australian navy launched a desperate search to find the couple, but all that was found was their dive bag, wallet and papers by Jack Nairn, owner of Skipper and Outer Edge.

Months later, a wetsuit of Eileen's size was discovered with no blood on it, as well as the couple's named Inflatable dive jackets.

However, six months after their devastating trip, a dive slate from the day they went missing, had surfaced.

The inscribed message read: "To anyone [who] can help us: We have been abandoned on A[gin]court Reef by MV Outer Edge 25 Jan 98 3pm.

"Please help us [come] to rescue us before we die. Help!!!"

The slate further suggested that the shark attack was unlikely and the lawyers for Outer Edge implied that the couple had gone missing on purpose.

Lawyers used the leaked diary entry to suggest that a suicide or even murder-suicide could have taken place, but the Lonergan's family blasted it as slanderous and the claims were ultimately dismissed.

The Outer Edge was held accountable and Nairn pleaded guilty to negligence.

Coroner Noel Nunan said in his closing remarks: "The skipper should be vigilant for the safety of passengers and ensure safety measures are carried out.

"When you combine the number of mistakes and the severity of the mistakes I am satisfied a reasonable jury would find Mr Nairn guilty of manslaughter on criminal evidence."

The Jury found Nairn not guilty, but his Outer Edge Boat Company did go out of business.

The horror ordeal went on to inspire the 2003 film, Open Water, which documented a young couple left for dead.

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