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Diver with suspected bends rescued from sea near Whitley Bay
5:38pm Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
A DIVER suspected of having the bends was rescued off the North-East coast last night (Monday, August 13).
The man in his early 30s was taken to safety in a joint operation carried out by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat and a RAF Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer.
The casualty had been diving on a wreck, believed to be that of the Eston, a cargo ship sunk by a mine in 1940, one-and-a-half miles off Whitley Bay, when his colleagues raised the alarm at about 9pm.
Tynemouth RNLI's lifeboat with a crew of six was returning from a routine training exercise and was sent to help.
The casualty was assessed by a volunteer RNLI crewman who is also a paramedic and was found to be suffering from symptoms common with the 'bends', or decompression sickness.
The RAF Sea King helicopter arrived soon after and the man was winched on board and flown at low altitude to a hospital in Hull that has specialist decompression chambers to treat divers.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: "The lifeboat was in the river Tyne having just returned from a regular training exercise when the crew were tasked to go to the aid of a diver who had suspected 'bends'.
“One of our volunteer crew is also a paramedic and while all lifeboat crews have advanced casualty care skills his additional expertise was valuable in making an early assessment of the diver.”
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