Inquest opens into diver's death

AN inquest has been opened into the death of an Essex diver who had been exploring a wreck off the Cornish coast.The diver was named by a spokesman for the Plymouth coroner as 40-year-old Christopher Sidgwick, from Chelmsford.

By Roddy Ashworth

AN inquest has been opened into the death of an Essex diver who had been exploring a wreck off the Cornish coast.

The diver was named by a spokesman for the Plymouth coroner as 40-year-old Christopher Sidgwick, from Chelmsford.

He was among a group of divers from the Essex area exploring the wreck of the decommissioned warship HMS Scylla on Sunday.


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The frigate was sunk in Whitsand Bay, east Cornwall, in March 2004 to become Europe's first artificial diving reef.

Mr Sidgwick surfaced in difficulties during last weekend's dive, and was airlifted to hospital in Plymouth where he died.

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The inquest was adjourned until Devon and Cornwall Police, who seized Mr Sidgwick's diving equipment, have completed their inquiries.

Officers said that the Health and Safety Executive would examine the scuba gear used by the diver.

It is understood that Mr Sidgwick was diving with 10 others on the UK ship, which is one of the most popular wreck dives off the UK.

Lying at a depth of between nine and 26m near Plymouth, the former Royal Navy warship is regarded as one of the safest wreck dives in the UK.

It is run by the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and was sunk with explosives to create a perfect environment for wreck diving.

Before it was scuttled, large holes were cut in the sides and internal walls to make it easy for divers to get in and out of the hull in an emergency.

HMS Scylla was an Exocet Leander class frigate, and the last frigate to be built in Devonport Royal Dockyard in 1968.

Scylla is 113m long with a displacement of 2500 tonnes.

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