Diving Deep: The Saving of Tony Bullimore



The English sailor Tony Bullimore shivered in the cold Southern Ocean waters. His upturned yacht was 1,500 miles south-west of the Australian coast and only 1,000 miles from Antarctica. He’d been in the water for four days after his boat was capsized by monstrous seas and bracing winds of up to a hundred miles an hour. “It was like a washing machine from hell!” was how Bullimore would later describe his experience. “But I couldn’t afford to get scared; I had to focus on how to stay alive for a little longer — just in case rescuers were coming.”

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Tony Bullimore’s upturned yacht was tossed around the Southern Ocean for four days before rescuers found him.


Tony Bullimore survived by sheltering underneath his upturned hull in an air pocket, in complete darkness. His only food was taking an occasional bite from a chocolate bar he’d managed to scramble in the wreckage. The year was 1997, and this ship-wrecked sailor was presumed dead by family and the media after so many days missing in wild seas.

When the rescue ship – the HMAS Adelaide – finally arrived at the wreckage site, one of the highly trained team climbed aboard the upturned boat and began knocking on the exposed hull. As Tony Bullimore huddled in the cold, wet darkness can you imagine how he might have felt the moment he heard someone on the other side of his boat knocking. Tony says he started shouting `I’m coming, I’m coming!”. He took a few deep breaths, dove under the water from inside his capsized boat, and then emerged into the morning sunshine. He would later say the experience of coming into the light was “heaven, absolute heaven”. The captain of the rescue ship recorded Tony Bullimore’s first words as: “Thank God… It’s a miracle!”

This photo captures the moment rescuers knocked on the hull of his boat – and Tony Bullimore swam into the light after sheltering in his overturned boat for four days

The experience of the saving of Tony Bullimore twenty years ago from the Southern Ocean is similar to the those who’ve chosen to follow Christ. We too can feel lost in the swirling ocean of a confused existence, and yet Jesus – our spiritual rescuer – provides us with hope. “I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock” Jesus says in the book of Revelation. “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to them and be with them.” (Rev. 3:20)

Can you hear the knocking of your Saviour on the hull of your heart? You may have given up hope – but the truth is your Creator has come, and He’s inviting you to take a few big breaths, to dive deep, and come into His light.


Want to read more inspirational stories of faith? Click here to read the incredible story of how a rural monk unexpectedly closed down the gladiatorial violence of the Roman Coloseum.


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About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Christian minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.

The Skydiver Who Forgot His Parachute


As Ivan McGuire boarded the small airplane with his video camera, the experienced skydiver didn’t know this would be his final ever flight.

Ivan worked as a cameraman filming nervous student parachuters taking their first-ever jump. He’d made hundreds of these flights, and any fear of leaping out of a plane from a height of three kilometres had left Ivan long ago.

On April 5th, 1988 Ivan McGuire jumped from a plane with his heavy VHS recording deck strapped to his back and the camera mounted to his helmet. Ivan had already completed two of these filming jumps that day, so he was a little fatigued – which may account for his soon-to-be-discovered forgetfulness.

On this final jump for the day Ivan calmly filmed the student strapped to his instructor as they both went through their free-fall and then opened their combined parachute. Ivan then reached around to open his parachute…. and discovered that he’d forgotten to put one on.

The surviving video footage from Ivan’s camera then goes from relaxed… to frenzied.

How had Ivan forgotten to put on a parachute? We don’t know. Perhaps it was simply tiredness, or maybe he’d mistaken the video pack on his back as his usual parachute. I can only imagine what might have gone through Ivan’s mind as he was free-falling to Earth from ten thousand feet with nothing to save him. The salvaged video footage recorded from his helmet shows Ivan going from matter-of-fact calmness to understandable panic.

It seems Ivan McGuire – on the day of his death – had simply gone-through-the-motions of his normal daily routines, without ensuring he had one very important thing with him. His parachute!

I’m hoping you can you forgive me as a minister of religion for likening this story to a spiritual cautionary tale. Yes, we do need to live each day as if it might be our last. BUT… we also need to be daily double-checking the faith we have in a loving Creator as our ‘saving parachute’.

For those reading this story who have already recognised God in their life – the Bible says: “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (check out Joshua 1:9). This biblical promise is a daily ‘parachute of faith’ that allows each of us to be land safely whenever we fall.

Click here to view Ivan McGuire’s helmet video of his final jump


About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and lives in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.

Want to read more inspirational stories of faith from this “Reverential Ramblings” series? Click here to read the strange story of how one orchestra member saved his colleagues from the wild temper tantrums of their world-famous conductor.

Or click here to join the Facebook page for “Reverential Ramblings”.

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