Man dies in diving tragedy off Eyemouth coast

Rescue helicopter at Eyemouth after diver gets into difficultties.
Rescue helicopter at Eyemouth after diver gets into difficultties.

A 59-year-old man from Yorkshire has died after getting into difficulty while diving off the Eyemouth coast.

Forth Coastguard said the man, who was with a group of four visiting from a diving club from Barnsley, surfaced face-down just off Eyemouth on Saturday afternoon.

Unconscious and not breathing, he was given CPR on the scene and was later pronounced dead at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after being rushed to hospital by helicopter.

One of the man’s companions, aged 39, was in shock after being washed onto the rocks at the shore in heavy seas.

An Eyemouth coastguard spokesman said the man who died had underlying health problems, and required an inhaler.

The coastguard first received a call at 1:40pm on Saturday, when the man surfaced around 50 metres from the shoreline. He was taken to the shore by other divers and coastguard rescuers. Eyemouth lifeboat helped the younger man to the shore.

Paramedics and Eyemouth coastguard battled for around 45 minutes to save the older man’s life, but he had not regained consciousness by the time an RAF helicopter arrived. The men were diving at the Nest Ends, just a short distance from Eyemouth harbour, when it was reported to Forth Coastguard that they were unable to make their own way back.

“The lifeboat was on scene and quickly located one diver stranded on a rock,” said a spokesman for Eyemouth Lifeboat. “The lifeboat launched their XP inflatable boat and its two crew made their way in to recover the diver. Once they had evaluated the swell and rocks, they managed to recover the diver into the XP boat, he was then transferred to the All Weather Lifeboat and landed ashore to receive medical treatment.

“Coastguard and ambulance crew, meanwhile, had recovered the second diver where they administered medical assistance, RAF Boulmer then airlifted him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.”

An Eyemouth coastguard spokesman said the dead diver received treatment at Eyemouth for 45 minutes: “They did CPR and were working on him before the helicopter arrived.”

The Sea King, from RAF Boulmer, rushed the stricken diver to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he was later pronounced dead.

The younger man was not seriously hurt, but was in shock after seeing his companion unconscious. The spokesman continued: “He was in shock after seeing his buddy like that.”

The men were “shore diving” and did not have a boat, which meant returning to the shore amid the choppy seas was dangerous, the spokesman said.

It is thought both men were thrown against rocks by the heavy swell.

A local diving expert said the group had experienced the "rough conditions" earlier in the day without problems. The pair got into distress on their second dive.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said paramedics treated a man in Eyemouth before he was airlifted to hospital. The other man did not require hospital treatment, he added.

The spokesman said: “We were advised the coastguard were looking at another patient; he was just in shock.”