Diver released from hospital

01:34, Dec 25 2012

A Christchurch man who suffered suspected decompression sickness after diving in the Marlborough Sounds has been discharged from hospital.

A Nelson-Marlborough rescue helicopter crew picked up the 62-year-old from Waikawa Bay, near Picton, on Sunday.

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.

Decompression sickness, also known as the bends or divers' disease, is where dissolved gases form bubbles in the body.

''He had all the symptoms of coming up too fast,'' 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.

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.

The Press