Diver stable after suspected bends

18:49, Dec 23 2012
Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter
Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

A Nelson Marborough Rescue Helicopter crew picked up a 62-year-old Christchurch man with suspected bends at Waikawa Bay near Picton yesterday.

Pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford said the man had been diving off a boat in Tory Channel, where the sea was about 20 metres deep.

Three adult family members were with the diver on the boat.

"He had all the symptoms of coming up too fast," Mr Douglas-Clifford said.

The diver was taken by boat to the eastern side of Waikawa Bay, opposite the marina, arriving about 4pm. The rescue helicopter flew him to Christchurch Hospital for treatment in its decompression chamber.

The diver was listed last night as being in a stable condition.


He was the second diver airlifted from the Sounds at the weekend. On Saturday morning, a Life Flight helicopter crew from Wellington rescued an injured diver from Robin Hood Bay who had trapped his foot getting out of the water.

Life Flight crewman Colin Larsen said the South Island man in his 50s managed to release his foot but suffered moderate injuries to his leg. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter picked him up from a narrow beach backed by steep cliffs at 10am. A paramedic was winched on to a rocky outcrop to treat the patient then both men were winched into the helicopter.

The diver was flown to Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, where he was reported to be in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.