A couple rescued after spending 19 hours in shark-infested waters are facing new questions.
American Alison Dalton, 40, and her British boyfriend Dick Neely, 38, were pulled from the ocean off the coast of Australia, Saturday.
The couple were scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef as a part of a larger group when the current carried the pair 200 yards away from the dive boat, they said.
Australian authorities are suggesting the couple, who have sold their story to a tabloid magazine, help pay for the cost of their rescue.
And now there’s a new twist: Fellow passengers aboard the dive boat said the couple neglected safety warnings, raising doubt over their story.
“It wasn’t a freak accident. It couldn’t happen to anyone,” said passenger Rebecca Sharkey. “I think they were really reckless in what they did.”
The couple’s dramatic rescue was caught on tape, and on Sunday, they sold their story to British tabloid the Sunday Mirror for a rumored $1 million, according to the BBC.
The couple’s insurance will pay for the cost of their rescue, celebrity publicist Max Markson told the BBC. Markson is the couple’s agent.
The couple declined to be interviewed by ABC News, but Neely told Australia’s Channel Nine that they believe the other divers neglected to look hard enough for them.
Those allegations were untrue, according to Sharkey.
“We were up all night looking for them,” said Sharkey. “For them to say that we weren’t doing all that we could — it’s quite upsetting.”
Though the allegations of reckless behavior have led some to suggest the couple planned the rescue to profit, Neely and Dalton vehemently deny this and say the incident was nothing more than an accident.
Laughing, the couple said jokingly, “We wanted to be in water for nearly 19 hours and nearly die?”