Welwyn Garden City divers’ dramatic rescue of unconscious man

PUBLISHED: 14:26 14 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:49 14 August 2012

Rod and Pete help the diver

Rod and Pete help the diver


A TRIO of divers saved the life of another who had come to the surface unconscious.

Three members of WGC-based Mid Herts Divers heard cries for help coming from the water and rushed to the rescue on Saturday.

Within seconds Rod Reeves, Pete Hodkin and Daniel Hodkin had pulled the man to safety at Stoney Cove, the National Diving Centre in Leicestershire.

Rod, 57, from Great North Road, said: “His face was blue, his lips were blue and he was foaming at the mouth.

“We rolled him onto his side and listened for his breathing but there was nothing and his jaw was forced shut.

“When you start to drown, your throat goes into spasm to stop water from going into your lungs. We needed to open his airway and fast.”

Daniel, 26, quickly removed the diver’s hood and unclipped his cylinder off his back while Rod, who is an emergency care assistant with the East of England Ambulance Service, and Pete began tilting the diver’s head back and removing his tongue from the back of his throat.

“There was a haunting, deep rasping breath. And then again and again,” said Pete.

“Rod, calm as you like, asked me if he had a pulse but I couldn’t find it – then I did and boy what a pulse it was, banging away like a racehorse.”

A rescue boat arrived with oxygen for the 35-year-old diver.

Pete, 52, from Lower Stondon in Bedfordshire, said: “I rested his head on my knee and Rod placed the mask over the diver’s mouth and nose.

“He began to breathe with a bit less labour but was still very grey.”

A large crowd had gathered round. Among them were two relatives of the diver, who were being comforted by Daniel.

“I shouted to them that he was now breathing and one of them made their way towards us, knelt down beside him and began talking in a foreign language,” said Pete.

“He obviously recognised the voice. He immediately started to try and turn his head.”

The man was taken by ambulance to Leicester Royal Infirmary and is expected to make a full recovery.

It is believed the diver had panicked while at 18 metres, spat out his regulator and tried to head to the surface. His buddy attempted to put his regulator back in but was pushed away.

He made it to 10 metres and became unresponsive. His buddy, assisted by two other divers, got him to the surface.

“We all spend a lot of time practising for an incident but thankfully most don’t have to use them,” added Pete, who is also the club’s training officer.

“Rod and I did what we had to do – save a life. Our training paid off.”

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