Two divers rescued in 'daring' operation

The AFM rescued two divers from rough seas at Dwejra, Gozo, yesterday, in what was described as a 'daring and delicate' search and rescue operation.

In a statement today, the AFM said the alert was raised at around 5.30 pm.

Gozo police informed the AFM Operations Centre, that two divers - a man and a woman - were missing during a diving trip at Dwejra.

The police locating the divers’ van parked at Dwejra with no diving equipment in it. It was thus assumed that the individuals went on a dive and failed to return.

The AFM deployed a helicopter and a rescue launch while a patrol boat was put on standby at Mgarr Harbour.

Policemen on site reported that they could make out one individual at the edge of the 'inland sea' area struggling to hold on to the rocks in the rough sea.

The helicopter rescue team led by Pilot Sgt Mark Cassar and rescue swimmers Sgt Pepe and Lance Bombardier Cassar located the man who was hoisted on board the helicopter. 

The AFM said this was "a very delicate air-sea rescue operation" which involved helicopter manoeuvres close to the cliffs in winds of well over 22 knots and sea state conditions of Force 6 to 7 during low light visibility.

The diver was transferred to a awaiting ambulance at Dwejra.

The helicopter crew that resumed the search for the missing woman.

The search was about to be discontinued, with the helicopter low on fuel and almost pitch darkness, when Sgt Carmelo Psaila spotted what appeared to be the head of the missing diver barely visible in the waves.

An AFM rescue swimmer jumped into sea and managed to winch her safely on board the helicopter, which then proceeded directly to Gozo Hospital.

Both divers are reportedly in a stable condition.


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