Oxygen was rushed across the South Taranaki Bight to a diver having breathing difficulties yesterday.

Police, Coastguard Wanganui and St John Ambulance staff were alerted to the situation at 1.45pm, Senior Sergeant Darcy Forrester said.

Three men were in the middle of a dive at the South Trap, a reef offshore from Patea, when a 52-year-old started having breathing difficulties. All three surfaced and returned to their boat.

Once on board, the 52-year-old was still not breathing properly, and they started heading back to Wanganui. One of the men on board was a doctor and was able to provide medical assistance as they went.


Coastguard Wanganui was contacted and asked to bring oxygen to help the stricken man. The Energy Direct rescue vessel headed out and met the recreational boat "Reel Deel". It delivered oxygen, which was provided to the patient.

By the time both boats had got back to Wanganui's Wharf St boat ramp, the patient was able to get off unassisted. He was seen to by ambulance staff and taken to Wanganui Hospital.

Last night he was reported to be in a stable condition, and was to remain in hospital overnight for observation.