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Death of Nanaimo diver shakes church community

Nov 07 2012
Scott Revane remembers friend George Holecz, a homeless man who he allowed to stay in his shop. A fire in the shop claimed Holecz's life in May 2011. Revane has been identified as the man who died while scuba diving in Nanoose Bay on Friday. 

Scott Revane remembers friend George Holecz, a homeless man who he allowed to stay in his shop. A fire in the shop claimed Holecz's life in May 2011. Revane has been identified as the man who died while scuba diving in Nanoose Bay on Friday.

Photograph by: Chris Koehn , Nanaimo Daily News

A tight-knit Nanaimo church community was struggling Tuesday to understand how one of their members died in a diving incident last week.

Paul Scott Revane, 53, was at a popular site off Blueback Drive in Nanoose Bay on Friday when his dive partner noticed that he was in distress.

Revane's friend took him to shore and tried to resuscitate him. A doctor living in the area was called upon to help even before paramedics arrived, but all efforts to save Revane failed.

Pastor Andrew Turkstra from Christ Community Church said nearly all his 225 members knew Revane, who was always available to help out anyone in need.

"I don't think there was anyone who moved away who didn't have Scott help them," Turkstra said. "This is a huge shock to all of us. He will be greatly missed."

The cause of death is unknown, but B.C. Coroners Service said Tuesday morning it was continuing to investigate. The Canadian Coast Guard was helping test the dive equipment.

Ed Singer, owner of Sundown Diving in Nanaimo, has spent the better part of 30 years diving in the waters in the area. He said scuba diving comes with some inherent risks, but diving accidents are rare.

"Just look at the amount of people out there diving in the world compared to the number of accidents that actually occur," Singer said.

"But if you have a medical issue, and then add water to the equation or a foreign environment, it adds to [the risk]."

Turkstra feels for the Revane family, who suffered another tragedy in May last year when a homeless man they took in died of smoke inhalation as a result of smoking in bed.

Revane met George Holecz at church and offered the man a home in his garage. Holecz, who was living in the forest, had just undergone heel fusion surgery.

Turkstra particularly worries about Revane's son, Christopher. Tukstra heard the two of them had started taking diving lessons about a year ago.

"This was something they decided to do together and Scott was such an integral part of Christopher's life," he said. "My heart goes out to the family."

Family members have asked not to be contacted by news media, but a comment from his older son, Derick Revane, on Face-book indicates the family's struggles.

"Dad i miss you. I still can't believe that you're gone. You are my hero, my rock, and my inspiration," he wrote. "Life is going to be so tough without you here but I will find the strength to overcome any obstacle in my way and become the man you inspire me to be."

The church's former pastor, Richard Duifuis, has been at Christ Community Church for about 20 to 25 years and had been attending a men's bible group in Revane's garage.

"Those meetings were very meaningful for people," Duifuis said.

With a file from Nanaimo Daily News

dspalding@timescolonist.com

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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