UPDATE: Lyme dive tragedy man named

Seabed search for master builder Graham Packer, aged 61, abandoned

A DIVER, presumed dead after failing to resurface off Lyme Regis last week, has been named as 61-year-old Graham Packer, from Bristol.

A massive air and sea search began when the self-employed master builder failed to return to the Blue Turtle dive boat, about three miles off the resort, on Thursday.

Relatives of the missing man described him as an experienced diver who would not have taken any risks.

Early indications are that he ran out of air and that his dive buddy – a 47 year old from Swindon - tried in vain to save him. He later needed medical treatment after making a rapid ascent.

Emergency services were alerted when Mr Packer, who had been diving for scallops in 22 metres of water, failed to return to the Lyme-based boat at around 5.30pm.

Coastguard helicopters, lifeboats, local vessels, the Lyme harbourmaster and a Royal Navy vessel took part in the operation, but no trace of the diver was found.

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Further underwater searches were carried out over Sunday and Monday in a bid to locate his body. They were conducted by both divers and a specialised sonar operations team, over a 1sq km area. Nothing was found and police say the hunt has been concluded.

A spokesman said: “It is with great sadness that the search has been concluded without success.

“All of those involved in the joint operation were totally committed to locating Graham Packer and bringing him home to his family.

“Mr Packer’s family have been kept up to date with the efforts and are being supported by police. The investigation into the circumstances of the incident continues.”