Diver airlifted to decompression chamber from Seahouses

The Seahouses inshore lifeboat.
The Seahouses inshore lifeboat.

The Seahouses lifeboat crew was scrambled yesterday afternoon after a woman fell ill while diving near the Farne Islands.

At 1.10pm, a Seahouses charter boat reported to Humber Coastguard that a 49-year-old woman aboard the boat had become ill with chest pain and breathing problems after surfacing from a dive.

She required medical assistance and the boat was making best speed for Seahouses Harbour. Seahouses Lifeboat Station had monitored the call and a request was also received from the boat owner’s wife for additional oxygen. The inshore lifeboat was launched and the station Land Rover was also sent out with a crewman aboard with medical equipment and oxygen cylinders.

On arrival at Seahouses, the lifeboat crew boarded the charter boat and gave medical assistance to the diver, who was in some discomfort. A rescue helicopter was tasked from Prestwick, while the lifeboat crew carried on giving oxygen and closely monitoring the diver’s condition, which was giving concern. Meanwhile, a specialist diving doctor gave the crew advice by phone.

After some while, it was decided by Humber Coastguard to cancel the rescue helicopter and send a road ambulance. The Great North Air Ambulance and a doctor was also requested, by the ambulance crew attending, with a view to taking the casualty to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington.

However, upon arrival of the air ambulance, the doctor on board decided to fly the casualty directly to the decompression chamber at Hull.

Seahouses lifeboat operations manager, Ian Clayton, said: “The boat skipper did everything right to get help for this lady, as did the lifeboat crew. We hope she makes a full and speedy recovery.”