The ‘underwater cathedral’ at the edge of the Red Sea is arguably the most perilous diving spot in the world – even for experts such as Dublin-born Stephen Keenan. What lies behind its fearsome reputation?

In the bars and cafes of Dahab this summer, one recurring observation has been made among the diving fraternity, a core constituency in this Egyptian coastal resort. “If it could happen to Steve, it could happen to anyone.”

Last month, Stephen Keenan, aged 39 and from Dublin, drowned while overseeing a dive by the freediving world record holder Alessia Zecchini. While attempting to cross “the arch” of the Red Sea’s notorious Blue Hole using only a single breath, the 25-year-old Italian became disoriented. Keenan rushed to her aid and guided her to the surface. She made it out unharmed but he blacked out and was found floating face down some distance away.

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