Married woman dies off the coast of Fife while learning to dive


By Martin Graham

TRIBUTES have been paid to a married woman who drowned while learning to dive off the east coast of Scotland. 

The 47-year-old, who was from Dundee, Tayside, got into difficulties in just six feet of water around 8.45pm at the Fife Ness headland in Fife on Monday.

She was part of a group of seven from Dundee Sub Aqua Club who were diving in the area and had been receiving one to one instructions from another more experienced female diver when she started taking in water.

The coastguard summoned St Andrews Coastguard rescue team, an ambulance and the police, and a rescue helicopter was scrambled to the scene.

The helicopter winched the diver on board and flew her straight to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, but she was declared dead soon after arrival.

Tom Bryce, chairman of Dundee Sub Aqua Club, said the victim was a popular member of the club who would be “sadly” missed.

In a statement, he said: “The Officers and members of Dundee SAC, a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club, wish to express their sincere condolences and support to the family and friends of one of our members who sadly died following a dive off Fife Ness, Fife on Monday evening 16 August 2010.

“The diver, who has not yet been formally named, was a keen and enthusiastic member of the diving club and was well liked and will be sadly missed by all members of the club.

“The police are undertaking an investigation and will be submitting a report to the Procurator Fiscal and so we are unable to comment further.

“All members of the Dundee SAC are shocked by this incident and their thoughts are with the family and friends of our friend and colleague at this difficult time.”

It was revealed the woman had been married for 18 years but had no children.

Her husband has been informed but police are still trying to contact other family members.

Evening dives at Fife Ness are a regular outing for the Dundee Sub Aqua Club which was founded in 1968 and has around 45 members.

Other dive sites which the club visits regularly include St Abbs, Elie Harbour, the Isle of May and Rosehearty.

The club has its own 7m boat and eight scuba sets which trainees can use whilst learning to dive.

Fife police are investigating the death and have submitted a report to the local Procurator Fiscal, they say there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances.

Jim Watson, safety officer for the British Sub Aqua Club which the Dundee club is affiliated to, said that diving deaths were relatively rare given the number of people taking part and the hazardous nature of the sport.

Mr Watson Said: “Every death is a tragedy.

“There are estimated to be around 250,000 active divers in the UK, who carry out around 2 million individual dives per year.

“The average number of deaths per year is 17.

“Every year the British Sub Aqua Club compiles a report on every diving incident, including fatalities, to see what lessons can be learned.

“It is a very safe sport considering the number of people taking part and the alien environment in which it takes place.”

There were 14 deaths associated with diving recorded in 2009, and 10 deaths were recorded in 2008.