Tragic diver's partner faced agonising wait for news

Seahouses lifeboat was involved in the search for the diver.
Seahouses lifeboat was involved in the search for the diver.

The partner of a woman who died in a diving tragedy faced an agonising wait for news as rescuers searched for her, it has been revealed.

The woman, said to have been aged about 50, had been diving yesterday from a local dive charter boat operating out of Seahouses, Northumberland.

She disappeared after surfacing just after 11am while diving near the Farne Islands.

A search and rescue operation was mounted by the coastguard, with helicopters and lifeboats involved. and local boats also joined in.

Police were called at 1.50pm and the woman was found by a local vessel about 40 minutes later.

She was transferred to a lifeboat and taken to the shore, where she received first aid, but died a short time later.

Ian Clayton, lifeboat operations manager at Seahouses RNLI, said he understood the woman was "approximately 50" and said he believed she was a swimming instructor.

He said the woman's partner was near the harbour when the rescue operation was launched.

Mr Clayton said: "He heard the sirens go off at the lifeboat station, and he came down to see what was happening.

"And he was then told that obviously the lifeboat's launching to go to the assistance of a boat that's reported a diver missing.

"And that was his partner, and he didn't know obviously at that immediate time that it was definitely his partner."

Mr Clayton said it was the first weekend of the diving season, and added: "There can be no criticism directed to the boat operator or boat skipper.

"What happened was obviously some sort of accident that's happened whilst the lady's been in the water.

"We are unsure how this tragedy occurred, but our thoughts are very much with the deceased lady's partner, friends and dive colleagues.

"She had come from a party of divers from Ormskirk in Lancashire. Northumbria Police are now conducting inquiries, which will be referred to the coroner.

"This was a very harrowing incident for all concerned."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "The coastguard launched a search of the area and at 2.30pm the diver was located.

"She received medical attention at the scene, but unfortunately passed away a short time later."