Two scuba divers who were out with a Brighton diving company have died.
The two men, aged in their 40s, were on the Brighton-based dive boat Channel Diver with a group of other divers.
They went into the water several miles off the coast of Eastbourne and began their dive. The pair then got into difficulty and Dover Coastguard received a mayday call at around 1.30pm on Saturday.
A helicopter from Dover Coastguard was scrambled and made it to the boat in the English Channel.
With assistance from Patricia, a vessel run by commercial shipping firm Trinity House, the chopper managed to airlift the two men from the small dive boat and fly them back to shore.
The men, one from Brentwood, Essex; the other from Highbury Hill, North London, were taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Sussex Police were informed of the incident just after 1.30pm and are notifying the families of the two victims as well as launching an investigation into the circumstances of their deaths.
DCI Mark Ling said: “Tragically two divers have died after getting into diffi- culty while diving in the Channel.
“We are informing their families and will be conducting an investigation into the circumstances.”
Tributes have poured in for the men from the public and the diving commu- nity.
One person said on Facebook: “So very sad, my thoughts are with their families. Stay safe all you water lovers out there.”
Another said: “My thoughts go out to the two divers who lost their lives off Sovereign Harbour.” The two men are yet to be named publically and a post mortem will be carried out to determine cause of death.
A Brighton based diving expert said: “It is a tragedy but diving is a safe sport if you stick to guidelines and do not push the limits.”
The Channel Diver boat is run by Channel Diving out of Brighton Marina. Nobody from the company was avail- able for comment yesterday.