The Malta Independent 26 September 2020, Saturday

Updated (2): 35-year-old diver who died in Gozo diving accident had been deployed in Afghanistan

Saturday, 18 January 2020, 13:10 Last update: about 9 months ago

A 35-year-old woman died while diving in Gozo on Saturday morning.

The accident took place at around 10.30am near Mġarr ix-Xini, the police said.

Units from the police and army responded to a call about a diver in distress.

The woman, from Victoria, was brought to shore but was pronounced dead on site.

She has been named as Christine Gauci, a soldier with the Armed Forces of Malta.

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Home Minister Byron Camilleri expressed his sorry in a message on the social media.

Magistrate Bridgette Sultana is leading an inquiry.

In a 2013 issue of the magazine On Parade, Gauci had spoken of her dream to serve her country underwater.

“The kick of operating underwater yet still carrying out sensitive military duties always grasped me,” she had said in the interview, adding that her biggest aspiration was to be the first woman to join the Explosive and Ordinance Disposal unit.

Gauci first applied to join the AFM in 2005 and was the only woman to be accepted in a recruitment targeted enlistment with the elite Charley ‘SD’ (Special Duties) Company at 1st Regiment AFM.

As she progressed in her career, she enlisted to train with the British Army and subsequently specialised in Air Defence.

In 2010, she was promoted to Lance Bombardier (British Army) and in 2011 she was deployed to Afghanistan, where she was decorated with the Afghanistan Medal on completion of her tour of duty.

“Operational reality in such a war-torn country is a different animal altogether, but this growing experience ended on very good notes,” Christine Gauci then said. She added that “As a female soldier operating in such a terrain with a renowned international military force was incredibly rewarding.”

Gauci served the British Army for four years before returning to Malta and rejoining the AFM. With the AFM she served at Alpha Company (Airport Security), 1 Regiment which is the sub-unit responsible for access control and quick reaction to any situation within the Malta International Airport.

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