by Ken McManus
A diver missing at Fish Rock, south of South West Rocks on the NSW Mid North Coast, was located and rescued by volunteers from Marine Rescue Trial Bay yesterday afternoon.
The diver, part of a group diving at the popular dive site off Smokey Cape Lighthouse, was unaccounted for when the other divers returned to their vessel.
NSW Police Force Marine Area Command activated the Trial Bay unit to search for the man.
Rescue vessel Trial Bay 30, skippered by Jon Cragg with a crew of three, began a search of the area.
Mr Cragg, a local dive shop and dive boat operator himself, used his local knowledge to start his search south of the diver’s last known position.
Trial Bay 30 located the man about one nautical mile south of Black Rock and some distance from the dive site about 2.30pm.
The diver, a man in his 50s, did not appear to be injured but underwent initial first aid assessment by the Marine Rescue crew before being transferred to a waiting ambulance on shore for further checks.
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said: 'This was a great result from our volunteers at Trial Bay. The value of both training and local knowledge cannot be under-estimated in emergency searches on the water.
'Coincidentally, this weekend volunteers from our Northern Rivers units were on a major Search and Rescue Exercise off Iluka-Yamba, training in the techniques applied in searches for those missing in the water.'