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It's Cubaman; Fearless Fraser dives in . . with his wheelchair!

Brave Fraser Bathgate makes a big splash ... when he goes diving in his wheelchair.

For the incredible 34 year old from Edinburgh is the world's first disabled scuba-diving instructor.

While preparing for a Himalayan expedition, Fraser fell from a climbing wall, crushing his heels.

And like Superman star, tragic Christopher Reeve, the former outdoor education instructor refuses to give up on life ... so he dives 130 feet into murky waters.

Fraser admits it took him a long time to come to terms with his disability.

He says: "I'd practised on the same wall for weeks, but this day another climber moved my crash mat from under me, so when I fell, I landed on my heels. I fell 25 feet and pushed my right heel into my ankle and crushed my spine.

"I was flat on my back for four months and doctors told me I'd never walk again.

"But that Scottish determination came out and I said: `I bloody well will."

Fraser hit a depression for a while, but a trip to Dubai changed everything.

He had asked about learning to dive in this country, to no avail. In Dubai, the local instructor was happy to help.

He says: "I qualified as an instructor in Malta and went back to Dubai to train able-bodied and disabled divers.

"Under water, I have a weightlessness that I don't have on land."

Now Fraser is off on a UK tour to talk to other disabled people about the sport.

The no barrier tour visits Glasgow's National Spinal Injuries Unit at the Southern General Hospital on June 26.

He says: "I have two more ambitions - to be able to go out without thinking about where I'm going, and if I can go there, and to learn to fly."
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Frame, Lorna
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 7, 1996
Words:295
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