May 4, 2016
Diver who was rescued by Burnham-On-Sea teenager dies in hospital

A diver has died despite a Burnham-On-Sea teenager helping to rescue him from the sea off Weymouth at the weekend.

The 58-year-old man from Yeovil was pulled from the sea off Portland just after 1pm on Sunday by the coastguard helicopter.

Hannah Bird, a sixth former and lifeguard from Burnham-On-Sea, pictured here with her father Steve, was water-skiing training in Balaclava Bay, near Portland, when she responded to a mayday call on her boat's radio.

The 17-year-old was practising for 2017 Water Skiing World Championships with her dad Steve on a race boat when they heard the SOS message.

They drove to the diving boat, which was about five minutes away, and Hannah jumped aboard and started to perform CPR for the first time in a real-life emergency.

Hannah said: "I was just about to get my water ski on when the emergency mayday call came through on the boat radio of an unconscious unbreathing diver in the bay."

"We quickly drove round in the boat, I jumped into the water and swam to their boat where they dragged me in."

"They all looked at me weird as I look much younger than I am but I assured them that I was qualified and could help."

"I started CPR until the air helicopter arrived, but trying to keep everyone in the boat calm and with a bunch of strangers, was very hard! We continued CPR for 25 minutes whilst trying to put the defib into him, cutting off his wetsuit and putting the helicopter harness onto the man."

The diver was then airlifted to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester for treatment but sadly died a short time later.

Hannah's father Steve, who was a Coastguard in Burnham for 16 years, told "At sea you just know you have to help each other. When we heard the mayday message we knew straight away that we had to respond."

"Our thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time - everyone onboard the boat did their best to help him, but he was in a bad way. Everyone was really shaken up by it. It was a traumatic experience."

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said: "Dorset Police were called at 2.36pm on Sunday 1st May by Dorset County Hospital to reports that a diver had been rescued from the sea off Portland just after 1pm by the coastguard helicopter."

"A 58-year-old man from Yeovil was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital for treatment. Sadly he died a short time later. His next of kin have been informed and the coroner notified. An investigation is under way to assist HM Coroner."


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