Two divers missing off Cornwall coast presumed dead

4 September 2021, 13:04

Two divers missing off the Cornwall coast at Whitsand Bay are presumed dead
Two divers missing off the Cornwall coast at Whitsand Bay are presumed dead. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Two divers who failed to return to the surface while exploring a wreck off the Cornwall coast are presumed to have died.

It is believed the pair became trapped while exploring HMS Scylla, HM Coastguard said on Saturday.

The ship was sunk in 2004 to create an offshore reef around the wreck.

A major search operation was launched off Whitsand Bay at around 7:45pm on Friday evening after the alarm was raised by the crew of their diving boat.

The hunt to find the divers continued into Saturday morning.

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HMS Scylla was sunk in 2004, sending it to the seabed as Europe's first artificial diving reef
HMS Scylla was sunk in 2004, sending it to the seabed as Europe's first artificial diving reef. Picture: Alamy

A third diver managed to successfully reach the surface and is being treated for decompression at Plymouth's DDRC Healthcare - a worldwide specialist in diving medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and medical training.

The Coastguard's Newquay helicopter, RNLI Lifeboats from Plymouth and Looe and the police were all involved in the search.

James Instance, from HM Coastguard, said: "Three people had been undertaking a dive yesterday afternoon into the early hours of yesterday evening.

"There had been an issue below surface while they were exploring the wreck."

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The alarm was raised after the two divers failed to reach the surface of the water
The alarm was raised after the two divers failed to reach the surface of the water. Picture: Alamy

He added: "Our thoughts at this difficult time are very much with the family and friends of the two missing divers."

Leisure divers are being asked not to swim near the wreck while the recovery effort continues.

However, it is not clear whether the pair who went missing entered the Scylla on Friday.

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