Episode available within Canada only.

When Canadian eco-hero Rob Stewart drowned in a diving accident off the coast of the Florida Keys, it was an enormous shock to the world’s environmental movement. At 37, Stewart was in the prime of his life as an activist and filmmaker, and he died in what seemed a senseless diving accident.

Media reports suggested that diving neophyte Stewart was urged to perform a dangerous and ultimately fatal dive by a reckless Svengali-like instructor named Peter Sotis. Some bloggers went so far as to report that Sotis survived the dive by clawing his way onto the boat first — leaving Stewart to drown.

The civil case launched by Stewart’s parents also pointed a finger at the dive operation, Horizon Divers, who had taken Stewart out to the deep wreck. They allegedly had not done their jobs properly and left him to die in the water.

But those stories, though dramatic, don’t hold up to scrutiny. Rob Stewart was no neophyte diver, in fact, he was a diving instructor with some 10,000 dives under his belt. He’d used rebreathers, a specialized system for deep diving before while filming the award-winning documentary Sharkwater. So why would someone with his experience go on a deep dangerous dive for the third time on the same day?

Filmmaker Robert Osborne, himself an experienced technical diver and journalist, launched an 18-month, in-depth investigation, which is detailed in the CBC Docs POV film The Third Dive: The Death of Rob Stewart. Sotis tells his story of what happened that day for the first time. Medical examiner Dr. Thomas Beaver also goes on camera with an exclusive interview sharing his fears that his work had been tampered with from the beginning. Osborne discovered never-seen-before footage from the night of the accident and was leaked a copy of a secret report that debunked much of the fake news that was circulating.

CBC Docs POV’s The Third Dive: The Death of Rob Stewart drills down to discover the real story surrounding Rob Stewart’s death. It’s a disturbing narrative that involves ruined lives, allegations of evidence tampering, a community that “circled the wagons” to avoid bad press and grieving friends and family that may not be ready to hear about Stewart’s calculated risks.

 

Credits (Click to expand)

written & directed by
Robert Osborne

executive producer
Jari Osborne

produced by
Robert Osborne

editor
Carole Larsen

director of photography
Russell Gienapp

additional camera
Paul Freer
Chris Harvey Clark
Mark Caswell
Robert Osborne
Doug Grtizmacher

original music composed by
Ken Myhr

story editor
Barry Stevens
Jari Osborne

production coordinator
Diana Warme
Sue McGrath

sound recordist
Chris Miller
Michael Josselyn

drone photography
Dave Culligan
Rich Steidell
David Gross


research
Robert Osborne
Jenny Cowley
Christina Alexiou

transcription
Adrienne Smith

production assistant
Katherin Singh
Alexa Osborne

graphics
Junior Lopez

online editor
Terry Aquino

re-recording mixer
Sebastian Bretin

colourist
Arlene Moekler

publicity
Ingrid Hamilton
Danita Steinberg

legal
Daniel J. Henry

accounting services
Kim Findley
Pam Leeuwestein
Steven Friedman

Stock Footage
Courtesy of CBC Archive Sales
ETCanada
NBCUniversal Archives
Pond 5
Sharkwater Kickstarter
Sharkwater Productions/Alamy Stock Photos

special thanks

Chris Ellis
Neal Pollock
Steve Lewis
Suzanne Babin
Rick Lymer. Run Time
Alex Antoniou, Fins Attached
Brian and Sandra Stewart
Sea Shepherd Society
United States Coast Guard
Munroe County Sheriff’s Department
Munroe Country Medical Examiner
Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department
Dalhousie University
Captain Hooks—Big Pine Key
Mike Fawcett, Panasonic Cameras

for the CBC

general manager, programming
Sally Catto

executive director, unscripted content
Jennifer Dettman

senior director, documentary
Sandra Kleinfeld

director of production, unscripted content
Alexandra Lane

executive in charge of production
Charlotte Engel

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CBC.CA/CBCDocsPOV