A YOUNG sub-aqua enthusiast was rushed to hospital after suffering the bends, a life-threatening condition, during a training dive.
Dominic Harvey, 12, from Leigh, got into trouble during a dive in the sea off Portland, near Weymouth, Dorset.
Dominic, was diving in choppy waters at Chesil Cove, on Sunday and surfaced too fast.
He complained of headaches and was having difficulty breathing – classic symptoms of the bends, caused by differences between air pressure on the surface and under water.
Dive supervisors quickly got him out of the water and administered oxygen on the beach.
He was then airlifted to Poole Hospital, where paramedics and a specialised dive doctor were waiting.
The youngster spent eight hours in a recompression chamber at the hospital.
After a second 90-minute session in the chamber on Monday, doctors finally gave him the all-clear. Dominic said: “The experience hasn’t put me off diving. I now want to complete my course in the warm waters in the Caribbean.”
By yesterday, the Thorpe Hall School pupil had recovered sufficiently to take part in an athletics championship in Birmingham.
His dad, Alan Harvey, of Woodside, Leigh, was diving with Dominic and his other son, Adam, 14, when the incident happened. He said: “It was all a bit of a shock, really. He was diving at 3pm, and in an air ambulance by 3.30pm.
“Dominic got in trouble at about four metres down. He had a little panic, surfaced too quickly and experienced some difficulties.
“It was his last dive of the course, but he’s already talking about going diving again. He is absolutely fine now. He wasn’t in the chamber on his own. He was in there with one of the guys who works there. Everyone was brilliant.”
His mum, Kate, 40, was at home in Leigh when she heard her sports-mad son had got into trouble.
She said: “I had a phone call from my husband at 4.30pm on Sunday saying, “don’t worry, but...’ “I drove straight down there with all sorts of things going through my mind.
“He has dived about 12 times in this country and in Italy, so he has some experience, but as he completed his last dive, where he had to prove his competence and remove and clear his mask, he panicked and shot to the surface.
“He basically got the bends. We’re just glad it was a case of all’s well that ends well.”