Diver airlifted from Kent dive-site

Picture: David Burns.

A scuba diver had to be airlifted to a London hospital with suspected decompression illness after making an emergency ascent at St Andrew’s Lakes in Halling, Kent on Sunday, 20 September.

Paramedics and the air ambulance were called to the inland site near Rochester at about 1.30pm. They told Kent Online that the “experienced” diver had been in a “potentially serious condition” but was expected to make a full recovery following hyperbaric treatment.

“An experienced Master Diver had a malfunction of his own equipment and made an emergency ascent… standard emergency procedures were followed by the dive-school,” said a spokesman for St Andrews Lakes, which describes itself as “the newest inland freshwater scuba-diving site in the UK”.

22 September 2020

According to Kent Online another diver training with his club at the same site in late August had also required emergency assistance and been airlifted to hospital. The St Andrews spokesman said that the diver involved had failed to disclose an underlying health problem to his London dive-school, and that no council or HSE investigation had been deemed necessary.

“Diving can be a dangerous sport and accidents will sadly occasionally occur from time to time,” said the spokesman.

St Andrews Lakes, a former chalk quarry, boasts of blue waters and depths to 30m, with a lined course, training platforms and “abundant fish stocks”.

The diving is in the process of being taken over by local PADI 5* centre Southern Scuba, and the site is said to provide facilities for schools and clubs to train divers from entry to technical levels.