In 2003, Lions Gate released a low budget Indie flick called OPEN WATER. Shot for just $500,000, the film went on to gross $55 million worldwide. Daniel [Daniel Travis] and Susan [Blanchard Ryan] are a young couple who head to the Bahamas for a scuba-diving vacation. Chartering a boat with several other divers, the couple decides to swim away from the group to explore on their own. When the rest of the group resurfaces, no one notices that Daniel and Susan had not yet returned to the boat. The couple eventually surfaces to find that the boat has already left without them. Stranded, they succumb to days of barracuda bites, shark attacks, and jelly fish stings finally both perishing at sea floating in the open ocean.
The story of OPEN WATER was taken from the real life events of Tom and Eileen Lonergan. Tom and Eileen had just recently returned from two years with the Peace Corps on a small South Pacific Island when they had decided to join a scuba-diving tour off the Great Barrier Reef of Australia on January 25, 1998. When the rest of the divers had returned to the boat, neither they or any of the crew had noticed that Tom and Eileen were not aboard. It wasn’t until two days later, when their belongings were found on the ship, that the crew realized they had left behind the young couple. Although their bodies were never found, they did find their diver’s slate, a board used to communicate underwater. On it was written, “We have been abandoned on Agincourt Reef by MV Outer Edge 25 Jan 98 3pm. Please help rescue us before we die. Help!!!”