By Pat Flynn
A diver has been airlifted from Cork to a hospital in Northern Ireland this afternoon.
It is understood the diver is suffering from decompression sickness also known as the ‘bends’.
The diver was reported to be showing symptoms of the bends after completing a dive in the Union Hall area of Cork at around 1pm.
The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter - Rescue 115 - was requested to airlift the casualty to hospital. The diver was brought ashore at Union Hall where the helicopter was able to land in a field close to the pier.
The helicopter crew was initially expected to fly the patient to a specialist hyperbaric chamber at Galway University Hospital. However, soon after leaving the scene, the crew was advised they would have to fly the diver to Craigavon in Northern Ireland.
The helicopter crew returned to Shannon Airport to refuel before departing for Craigavon at around 3.20pm.
The HSE has been asked to confirm why the casualty was not taken to the hyperbaric chamber at Galway University Hospital. A comment is awaited.
The Irish Coast Guard has said the mission is still ongoing so no further details are available.