Ian Cole, American Tourist, Left Behind While Snorkeling Great Barrier Reef

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AP File

Ian Cole, a tourist from Michigan, was snorkeling Australia's Great Barrier Reef on Saturday when his dive tour boat left without him.

Cole, 28, went snorkeling with the Passions of Paradise in Michaelmas Bay over the weekend. At one point, he lifted his head out of the water and realized he had been left behind.

"The adrenaline hit in and I had a moment of panic, which was the worst thing I could have done at that point," Cole told The Cairns Post. "I was able to calm myself just a little bit because there was another boat still out there and I made my way to that vessel. Lucky it was there because otherwise I may have drowned. I did not handle the situation well and I was tired."

Australian officials are investigating the incident. A spokesman denies Cole was in any danger since other boats were nearby, according to the Associated Press.

Officials said that a Passions of Paradise staff member had been fired for failing to get Cole's signature to confirm he was on the board before it departed.

Cole has been in Australia for nine months, Sky News reports.

If this all sounds a wee bit familiar it's because there was a movie made about a similar incident. Tom and Eileen Lonergan, two American tourists, died in 1998 after their tour boat left them while they were scuba diving the Reef. Their story was the basis for the super-terrifying "Open Water."

The Cairns Post reports that Cole's trip was refunded and he was given a $200 restaurant voucher. Yet Cole also wants written assurance that something like this will never happen again.

WATCH the Sky News report below:



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