December 11 2013 Latest news:
By MARK BOGGIS
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Police and health and safety officials were today (Saturday) continuing their investigations after a diving trip off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast ended in tragedy.
A man in his late 40s, from the London area, died yesterday after he became unwell during a recreational diving trip.
A Suffolk police spokesman said: “A man who died following a diving incident off the coast yesterday is thought to be 49-years-old and from Brixton in London. He was airlifted to the James Paget University Hospital (in Gorleston) following the incident about 17-miles offshore yesterday afternoon (Friday, August 30). A second diver brought ashore by Gorleston lifeboat was taken to the James Paget for assessment but was later discharged.”
The drama unfolded at about 1pm yesterday, after the dive boat had left Lowestoft yesterday morning for a recreational diving trip.
Coastguards were alerted by the operator of the Raider V dive boat, after one of the divers became unwell and had to make an emergency ascent. It is understood that he may have suffered a heart attack, although the cause of death is still to be ascertained.
After being given emergency CPR, a RAF search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham was called to airlift the man to the James Paget, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A second diver suffered suspected decompression sickness and was taken to the James Paget by the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat Samarbeta.
The police spokesman added: “Suffolk police officers attended Hamilton Docks in Lowestoft to meet the dive boat, that docked around 6.30pm, and inquiries continue this morning into what happened.
“This will include an examination of the diving equipment used, that is believed to have belonged to the man that died, and a post mortem examination to determine his cause of death.”
Officers have already spoken to the other six people on board the boat at the time and will be getting full accounts from them.
As is standard procedure the death is currently being treated as unexplained pending the outcome of the post mortem and these preliminary inquiries, but at this stage there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances
A spokesman for Humber Coastguard said they were contacted yesterday by a dive vessel reporting that one of their divers had surfaced and was in difficulty.
“The incident occurred 17 miles offshore and the decision was made to send the RAF search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham as this was the quickest way to get the casualty to safety,” the spokesman said. “The Gorleston RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also requested to launch to assist with the transportation of the dive buddy, particularly in view of the distance offshore.”
A spokesman for the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat confirmed they were called out at 1.20pm “to assist in the recovery of two diving personnel” from a diving support vessel situated 20 miles north east of Gorleston Lifeboat shed.
The spokesman said: “On arrival at the scene, one of the divers, who was suspected of having a cardiac arrest, was airlifted by helicopter. The second diver, who was thought to be suffering from decompression sickness, was taken back to shore by the Gorleston lifeboat and then transferred to the James Paget hospital.”