MILFORD Haven Coastguard co-ordinated the successful rescue of a diver who went missing last week, sparking a major air and sea search.

The diver had drifted from his boat and disappeared off the Garland Stone north of Skomer Island on Friday afternoon.

Upon receiving a distress call, Milford Haven Coastguard broadcast a mayday relay on VHF to make other boat users aware of the situation and secure assistance.

Several vessels responded to the broadcast and were directed by the Milford coastguards to a search area.

Aboard the White Water 3, one of the boats that responded to the call, was Gareth Protheroe.

He said: “Our skipper Andy headed straight over to the location that was given over the radio. When we got to the location there were two divers who explained that the third of their party was missing.

“So we then began to search for the diver.

“After roughly three hours of searching along with the Sea King helicopter the Angle lifeboat and the St Davids lifeboat, along with other boats, we heard another report over the radio that the diver had been spotted by a tanker so we raced to that location.”

The diver had drifted about six miles during the three-hour search.

“We found the diver floating on the surface, we alerted the helicopter and I’m pleased to say they picked up the diver.”

The helicopter plucked the diver, aged 49, from the water and flew him to Withybush Hospital, where he was checked over but later released.

Bob Peel, watch manager at Milford Haven Coastguard, said: “We would like to thank all the private vessels which responded to the mayday relay broadcast.

“The dive boat was fully equipped and called us as soon as they realised they needed assistance.

“Thankfully the diver was located and recovered without any ill-effects.

“This incident highlights how far a person can be carried by tidal currents in a very short space of time.”