Both Eastbourne Lifeboats were launched on Sunday afternoon when a sudden fog enveloped a dive boat six miles offshore shortly after nine divers had entered the water.

With visibility reduced to just a few feet it was feared that the divers would return to the surface and be unable to see their support vessel and become lost. The Dive Master aboard the support vessel contacted Dover Coastguard who in turn requested the assistance of Eastbourne lifeboats. The lifeboats launched in good visibility but within a mile of the dive vessel they hit a wall of dense fog and were forced to reduce speed and carefully pick their way using radar through the many angling boats still in the vicinity. Fortunately seven of the divers surfaced close to their support vessel and were recovered but the two remaining divers, who had become separated from the main group, were still unaccounted for.

Some while later the two missing divers surfaced near to a small fishing boat and were recovered by the somewhat surprised anglers. Unfortunately the anglers were not monitoring the appropriate VHF safety channels and were blissfully unaware of the drama taking place around them. They eventually contacted the lock keeper at Sovereign Harbour who then relayed the message to the rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard that the divers had been recovered. Both lifeboats were stood down and returned to station.

Image: Poor search conditions at rescue scene