WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES Alexey Barkhatov had gone diving with a friend when the horror accident happened while spear fishing in Sydney Harbor with his diver friend
A fisherman nearly lost his hand and suffered a horrific injury after being hit by a boater.
Alexey Barkhatov was struck by a passing boat and its propeller left a gaping wound in his hand which required hospital treatment.
He had gone diving with a friend when the horrific accident happened while he was fishing with a spear in Sydney Harbour, Australia.
Alexey now wants waterway regulations changed after his brush with death left him severely injured.
He told Yahoo Australia: “50cm to the left and that boat could have killed me and my dive buddy”,
“I was with my dive buddy, really shallow with two floats, when he appeared out of nowhere, full speed ahead.
“I tried to defend my hand with the gun and was able to dive quickly but not as deep as I had hoped.”
He regularly dives where the accident happened and says they have two very visible floats which can be seen from some distance
Mr Barkhatov and his friend had been diving near Middle Head for a few hours when they spotted fish and were preparing to target them when he suddenly heard a noise.
There were boats nearby and after hearing the sound of an engine he dived quickly and defended himself with his speargun.
He believes it saved his life when the boat hit him and his propeller caught the edge of his hand, seriously injuring him.
He was covered in blood after coming over the water and the boat ride helped him get on board.
They used a dog’s leash to stem the blood while his diving partner called the marine police and took them ashore where paramedics waited to take him to hospital.
Mr Barkhatov underwent three hours of surgery, but doctors were fortunately able to save his hand.
“I’m very lucky,” he said. “That’s why I’m now trying to find a way to use my story to prevent such accidents in the future.”
The New South Wales government website states that most waterways have no speed limit.
“He says, ‘All ships must travel at a safe speed at all times
“A safe speed gives you enough time to stop or turn around to avoid any sudden danger, such as a collision, injury to people or damage to things.”
Mr Barkhatov called for the enforcement of speed limits and increased curbs for boats near swimmers and divers.
He says the buoys could show boats where swimmers or other water users might be, which he says “could save lives”.