Diver deaths in UK, Thailand and France

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Diver deaths in UK, Thailand and France

A 51-year-old diver from Weymouth died following an incident off the South Devon coast on Saturday, 17 June.

The Coastguard responded to a Mayday signal from a dive-boat at 2.15pm. In its initial report it stated that a diver had got into difficulty following a descent to 80m and suffered medical problems during his ascent, 40 miles south of Plymouth. However, a later Devon & Cornwall Police statement referred to the man as having been “free diving” before resurfacing unconscious.

Members of the Dorset-registered dive-boat crew applied CPR before the man was airlifted by Coastguard search and rescue helicopter to the hyperbaric facility at Derriford Hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. The diver’s relatives were informed but he has yet to be named.

The rest of the dive group surfaced safely, with the Salcombe lifeboat in attendance. The Health & Safety Executive was informed and the police were preparing a file for the coroner, though they say that the death is not believed to be suspicious.

In Thailand the following day, a volunteer-diver died while helping to install an artificial reef off Phuket.

The woman, Lakkhana Sakunphong, 35, from Krabi, was one of 26 divers helping with a government project to install the reef at Racha Yai island south of Phuket. The divers were being supervised by Department of Marine & Coastal Resources representatives.

One of the divers told the Phuket News that Sakunphong had surfaced with her air-tank almost empty and had been talking at the surface but passed out while swimming back to the boat. CPR and oxygen were administered on board but she was pronounced dead on arriving at a nearby hospital.

In southern France, meanwhile, a Finnish cave-diver of 44 died while diving in Font Estramar, one of the world's deepest underwater caves, on 10 June. The incident occurred at a depth of more than 200m following a DPV malfunction, according to reports from Finland.

The diver’s buddy, a man of 45, was reported to have emerged unharmed after spending more than eight hours in the system. Both were described as very experienced divers.

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