A DIVER has died and a fellow diver had to be rescued by the Ballina Jet Boat following a tragic underwater emergency off Ballina yesterday morning.
Inspector Nicole Bruce of Ballina police said the men were diving at the MV Limerick shipwreck off Ballina when a 55-year-old Sydney man experienced complications.
"The men were 12 nautical miles off shore, diving at a depth of 107 metres when an incident occurred where a man has come to the surface requiring immediate medical attention," she said.
A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said the man suffered a cardiac arrest while diving and was unconscious when he reached the ocean surface.
When the man surfaced, crew on board the dive boat commenced CPR and notified emergency services of the situation.
Surf Life Saving far north coast duty officer Jimmy Keogh said the Surf Rescue Emergency Response System was tasked by police to respond to reports a man had been brought aboard a dive boat unconscious.
"The Ballina Jet Rescue boat was out doing a routine patrol and responded immediately to the incident."
"They rendezvoused with the dive boat approximately one nautical mile east of the Ballina bar."
"CPR was continued on the man until he was brought ashore where ambulance paramedics were waiting."
Insp Bruce said the diver was pronounced dead by paramedics when the jet boat returned to shore at about 11.20am.
Mr Keogh commended the rapid response of the jet boat crew, who returned to assist another diver who was having complications decompressing.
"The rescuers then went back out to the dive boat with oxygen supplies, after reports another man was still underwater, possibly suffering the bends."
At 3pm, Insp Bruce said the second diver was still decompressing 30 metres below the ocean's surface.
The dive master of the expedition was on board the Ballina Jet Boat, which was about two nautical miles offshore, waiting for the diver to surface.
A report on the 55-year-old's death will be prepared for the coroner.