Johnny Walker, 54, from Co Durham, was reportedly only minutes into his dive when he indicated to the accompanying guide that he felt unwell, and made an emergency ascent.

He was said to be having difficulty breathing by the time he was back on the dive-boat. The alarm was raised and Walker was brought back to Marina Rubicon harbour in Playa Blanca, a five-minute boat-ride from the dive-site.

First aid was administered until paramedics arrived to take over but Walker, who had some 30 years of diving experience, was said to have suffered heart failure and was pronounced dead at the scene. A police investigation is under way.

On the same day in the UK a diver in his 50s was described as seriously ill after getting into difficulties off Shoalstone Beach near Berry Head in Brixham. Torbay RNLI was alerted in the early afternoon and its inshore lifeboat crew arrived to find the casualty, who had been diving with friends, being assisted by a jet-ski rider and snorkellers.

Torbay’s all-weather lifeboat brought the diver back to the lifeboat station, from where he was transferred by ambulance to Torbay Hospital.

*   SEARCH TEAMS have recovered the bodies of two Chinese rebreather divers who went missing while diving a submerged section of the Great Wall of China, as reported on Divernet on 9 September.

The divers, Xu Haiyan, 39, and Sun Hao, 34, had been carrying out a photo and video survey of a deep section of the site at Panjiakou Reservoir on behalf of Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), according to China.org.cn. Some 12 days after their disappearance, the body of one diver was found at 62m, and the other was 70m away. 

The cause of the pair’s deaths is unknown. Xu was described as one of the few professional female divers in China, and both she and Sun were said to be among an elite few Chinese divers to have attained technical-diving qualifications.

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