Underwater Cinematographer Mike Prickett Paralyzed in Dive Accident

Posted: Mar 21,2012 Written by  Jodi Wilmott

Photo: Courtesy of Prickett Films

Hawaii's Mike Prickett, an internationally acclaimed underwater cinematographer from the North Shore of Oahu, has been partially paralyzed following a diving accident that occurred during a commercial filming job in Tahiti. The accident happened last Wednesday and he is still undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Papeete. 

Prickett, 47, sustained a severe case of decompression sickness while saving the life of another diver on the job. He was paralyzed from the chest down but has today regained some sensation in his legs. Doctors are hopeful for his recovery .    

"I was doing an underwater shoot for wetsuits and dive gear," Prickett said. "I saw another diver sinking and panicking. I dove down to 220 feet to save him, but he used up all my air. I'm glad I was able to rescue him and he could walk away from the incident. 

"I want to thank my family and friends for their prayers. I really need your prayers right now."

Prickett was scheduled to appear next Wednesday, March 28, in a Talk Story event at the North Shore's Surfer The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort. A benefit for his medical and related expenses will now be held in its place. More details will be announced shortly. 

In 1984, Prickett was in a serious car accident, breaking his right leg in 36 places, and his left leg in seven places. Doctors thought he would never walk again but suggested swimming as therapy. His rehabilitation time led to a passion for underwater cinematography.

Mike has filmed in nearly every ocean in the world and has won numerous awards for his work including Emmys and Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. His feature film work includes Riding Giants, Step Into Liquid, and Ultimate Wave Tahiti.

Mike's family today released a short video showcasing some of his underwater footage, titled "Pray For Mike". It can be viewed here.