Case 133

Tom & Eileen Lonergan

When American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan set out to visit Australia, they were particularly looking forward to putting their diving skills to good use. On January 25 1998, they took advantage of the perfect weather conditions and boarded a charter boat at the Port Douglas Marina for a day out exploring the Great Barrier Reef. 

However, two days later, the crew at The Outer Edge Dive Company realised that the Lonergan’s had left several personal belongings onboard and still hadn’t returned to pick them up. What’s more, another crew member had found some loose diving weights discarded out on Saint Crispin Reef. The horrifying truth soon became clear – Tom and Eileen Lonergan had been left at sea. Would the couple be found? And was it a tragic accident, or was something more sinister at play?



Casefile Presents



Research – Erin Munro

Writing – Elsha McGill and Milly Raso

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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2020: Vanished Down Under

Crime Stories: Deep Secrets



‘Search is on for couple lost at sea’ – The Des Moines Register, January 30, 1998

‘Search called off for missing divers’ – Arizona Daily Star, January 31, 1998

‘In the depths of despair’ – The Sunday Age, February 1, 1998

‘Dead or alive?’ – The Age, February 28, 1998

‘Service held for missing US divers’ – Daily Citizen, April 3, 1998

‘New twist to missing divers probe’ – The Age, April 23, 1998

‘Darkness clings to sunny reef town’ – The Age, April 25, 1998

‘Dive couple ‘sighted’ after disappearance’ – The Age, May 20, 1998

‘Please help us ?? to rescue us before we die’ – The Age, September 5, 1998

‘Secret tapes reveal panic for lost pair’ – The Age, September 8, 1998

‘Bus operator warned dive skipper pair were missing’ – Sydney Morning Herald, September 9, 1998

‘Diver tells of flaws in head count’ – The Age, September 11, 1998

‘Outbursts and high emotions in courtroom drama’ – The Age, September 12, 1998

‘Lawyer calls for charges’ – The Age, October 3, 1998

‘Charges leveled in deaths of scuba divers’ – The Sentinel, October 9, 1998

‘New regulations recommended to avoid more dive accidents’ – The Town Talk, November 6, 1998

‘Dive head counts not assigned, court told’ – The Age, November 10, 1999

‘Pair’s diaries tell of sadness’ – The Age, November 24, 1999

‘Diaries reveal the tortured thoughts of Tom and Eileen’ – The Age, November 28 ,1999

‘Missing divers: skipper cleared of manslaughter’ – The Age, November 25, 1999

‘The story behind new film Open Water’ – The Guardian, July 22, 2004

‘Diving for cover over deaths’ – The Australian, October 14, 2004

‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cinema…’ – The Telegraph, July 18, 2004

‘Diver’s parents have no interest in ‘Open Water’ film’ – The Advocate, August 6, 2004

‘Doomed couple’s story resurfaces’ – The Times-Picayune, August 20, 2004

‘Elderly diver goes missing on reef’ – The Age, January 13, 2000

‘Abandoned divers rescued from shark-infested waters’ – Times Colonist, September 19, 2005

‘As sharks prowled, forgotten divers waited… and waited’ – The Guardian, May 25, 2008

‘Australian boat abandons US snorkeler’ – The Boston Globe, June 29, 2011

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