- On 26/05/2013
- In Wreck Diving
A British man has died during a dive on a wreck in Italy, coastguard officials have confirmed.
The man was in a group of six divers taking part in a week-long programme involving several deep water explorations on ships that had been sunk during World War Two.
Coastguard officials said the man had been diving at a depth of around 300 feet when he got into difficulty and died shortly after reaching the surface of the water.
Paramedics were immediately called to the scene near Villasimius on the south-east coast of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia but the man could not be saved. The ship the man was diving on was a steamship called the Bengasi, which was torpedoed by the Royal Navy's HMS Truant in May 1941 and sank within 10 minutes of being struck.
It was primarily used as a troopship but at the time was empty and sailing between its home port of Naples and the Sardinian city of Cagliari.
Divers are drawn to the wreck because at the time it was sunk it was carrying a large cargo of glassware products. The wreck is about a mile from the uninhabited Isola dei Cavoli.
A coastguard spokesman in Cagliari said: ''We were called to an incident involving a group of divers who had been at the wreck of the Bengasi. "It appears that one of them, a British man, was in difficulty and when he got to the surface he was already unconscious.
"The paramedics tried to save him but he was declared dead at the scene. It looks like he suffered a heart attack."