South East Wales

Diver who died off Dorset coast was from Cardiff club

A diver from Cardiff who died after getting into difficulties off the Dorset coast has been named.

Coastguards were alerted by the crew of a local dive boat south of Portland Bill on Saturday lunchtime.

Lee Nicholls, who was 41, was taken by helicopter to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Annette Chinn, a member of the Diving Dragons Club of which Mr Nicholls was also a member, said he would be "sadly missed".

Rescue diver

Ms Chinn said he was one of eight divers who went down to visit the World War II wreck Alex van Opstal, a Belgian cargo and passenger boat sunk by a mine in 1939.

"He was a rescue diver and had done about 130 dives," she said.

"The weather was beautiful. The dive conditions were good.

"From the information we had Lee didn't experience any difficulties during the dive.

"He will be a sadly missed member of our club."

Another diver, a 49-year-old man also from Cardiff, was taken ill at the scene but later recovered.

Members of the dive team have been interviewed by Dorset Police and marine unit officers were investigating Mr Nicholls' death.

The crew called the coastguard as soon as Mr Nicholls began experiencing difficulties. The helicopter was scrambled and he was flown to Dorset County Hospital.

The second diver was also flown by the coastguard helicopter to the decompression chamber in Poole as a precaution.

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