Diver with decompression sickness flown from Ramsgate to London hospital

Photo HM Coastguard Margate

A diver at Ramsgate was flown by air ambulance to a London hospital yesterday (August 3) suffering decompression sickness.

Paramedics, RNLI Ramsgate and HM Coastguard Margate were called just after midday as the vessel arrived back in Ramsgate Harbour.

RNLI Ramsgate assisted in evacuating the diver off other vessel and taking them to the boathouse while plans were made on how to get them to hospital.

The diver had not ascended quickly but after the dive suffered loss of feeling in both legs.

The decision was made to fly them to the nearest decompression unit in London via the Kent Air Ambulance.

A landing site was prepared by Coastguard officers and when landed the casualty was evacuated to hospital.

A Kent air ambulance spokesperson said: “We were in attendance at Ramsgate at 1.10pm where they helped treat the patient who was then taken to hospital by air.”

Decompression sickness is often called “the bends,” and happens when a scuba diver ascends too quickly. Divers breathe compressed air that contains nitrogen. At higher pressure under water, the nitrogen gas goes into the body’s tissues.


  1. In the past I worked off shore, and employed divers for many years, and never once to my knowledge did anyone suffer from the “bends”. It sounds like either poor training, or faulty equipment, but like people recklessly buying motor boats, and getting into trouble out at sea, they can do this because its not regulated!

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