Divers rescued off Norfolk coast after search operation

Two divers were rescued off the Norfolk coast after their boat drifted and they were swept away in foggy conditions.

Coastguards put out a Mayday call after the diver's boat, the Meerkat, reported navigation problems on Saturday.

The divers resurfaced to find their boat was missing and clung on to a line for 20 minutes before being carried away by the tide.

Coastguards said the divers had a lucky escape and praised the skipper of their boat for raising the alarm so quickly.

Lifeboats, an RAF search and rescue helicopter, dive boats and a wind farm support vessel took part in the search after coastguards were contacted at about 15:50 BST.

The divers had been two miles north-east of Mundesley.

Graham Dawson, watch manager for Humber Coastguard, said their boat reported problems with navigation equipment.

Foggy conditions

The skipper could not get back to the dive site, he said.

"We put out a Mayday relay broadcast and got assets to the area to search for the divers," Mr Dawson added.

He said that the search was hampered by foggy conditions, with visibility of just 50m (164ft).

Lifeboats from Mundesley, Cromer and Happisburgh were launched but the divers were located by another dive boat, the Anglian Diver, about 16:30 BST and then picked up by the dive vessel Manta to be returned to shore at Sea Palling.

"They had been clinging on to the shot line from their marker for about 20 minutes but couldn't hold on any longer," said Mr Dawson.

"The tide was so strong they had been swept away by it.

"They were very lucky. The dive boat had reported it to us very early so we were able to take action very quickly."

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