Tyne & Wear

Partner of dead Farne Islands diver 'saw rescue bid'

Longstone Lighthouse on Inner Farne, Farne Islands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Farne Islands are popular with tourists, divers and bird enthusiasts

A man unknowingly watched a rescue mission for his partner who died while diving off the Northumberland coast.

The woman, thought to be about 50-years-old, disappeared in the sea near the Farne Islands on Sunday afternoon.

Her partner, who was walking his dog in nearby Seahouses, watched as lifeboats were launched from the village, the RNLI said.

Despite a "harrowing" rescue bid, she died shortly after being pulled from the water, manager Ian Clayton said.

The woman, understood to have been a swimming instructor, has not yet been named but was with a group of divers from Ormskirk in Lancashire.

'Tragedy'

Mr Clayton, lifeboats operations manager for the Seahouses branch, said: "[The woman's partner] 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.

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

The diver was located about 40 minutes after police were called and received medical attention, but died a short time later.

Mr Clayton said it had been the first weekend of the diving season, and added: "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.

"Police are now conducting inquiries, which will be referred to the coroner. This was a very harrowing incident for all concerned."

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