Assisting the Coastgaurd - Search & Recovery, Mull August 2010
incident occurred this August during our second trip to
out at sea around Loch Sunart there came over the radio a Mayday for
assistance in the locating of a missing diver.
The Brendan answered the call & was soon to rendezvous with the
Papa Westray who was missing the diver. The Tobermory lifeboat had
just arrived and asked us to liaise with the Papa Westray.
It transpired that a female diver had failed to surface with her buddy, who was in a state of shock, having run out of air while trying to assist her. The buddy boarded the Brendan, he said they had been diving at a depth of 15m and showed our skipper David (Bowdy) approximately where he had surfaced. A shot was deployed and a number of our divers, led by Al conducted a search of the area to no avail. Several boats and a RN SAR helicopter arrived to search the surface and some of our younger divers put on snorkelling gear and searched the kelp along the shoreline. The Sound Diver from Lochaline arrived and they found the divers scallop bag in 24M.
After 3 hours the surface search was called off, the helicopter and all the boats, except the lifeboat left. We decided to make one more search and after 15 minutes two of our divers found the lady on the seabed near to where the scallop bag had been recovered earlier. They marked the location using SMB.s & returned to the surface to break the news. The coastguard requested that as it would take several hours for Police divers to get there, would we consider recovering the body. After a discussion, Prima members decided to put a rope on the diver and the lifeboat was then able to recover her body.
The father of the lady later contacted the club with the following comments:
He said that as a family they used to holiday around Loch Sunart when Jennifer was little, and she had always loved the area. Jennifer had been diving for many years and was an experienced diver, but she and her family understood that it was a dangerous pastime. He said that she was always adventurous with a lust for life, and would accept the risks associated with living your life in that way, rather then fearing the worst and having a life lived in fear.
There will be a mention at Jennifer's memorial thanking us for our help.
Diving Officer Al Noakes wishes to express his thanks to all the members present. ďAt a most stressful time everyone concerned conducted themselves with professionalism & respect & carried out whatever function they were asked to complete. In particular the younger Prima members proved to be a credit to the club in the sensitive manner they responded.Ē