Shipwreck expert David Bright dead at 49

July 11, 2006 at 11:18 AM

FLEMINGTON, N.J., July 11 (UPI) -- David Bright, one of the foremost experts on the 1956 sinking of the Andrea Doria, has died after surfacing from a dive to the wreckage at the age of 49.

Bright, who lived Flemington, N.J., collapsed after boarding his dive boat Saturday about 60 miles south of Nantucket. He was evacuated by a Coast Guard helicopter and pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The Coast Guard said the cause of death was unknown Tuesday.

A diver for more than 30 years, Bright had visited the wreckage of the Andrea Doria more than 100 times. He founded the Andrea Doria Survivor Reunions Committee and was preparing for a reunion to mark the 50th anniversary of the sinking July 23. Organizers told the Times the reunion in Kings Point, N.Y., will also serve as a memorial to Bright.

Bright was a frequent lecturer on shipwrecks, contributing to more than 40 documentaries and several books on the subject, the newspaper said.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine; children, Michelle, Matthew and Heather; his mother, Ann; and two brothers, Michael and James.

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