Coastguard puzzled by city woman's death in loch dive

A DIVER who drowned in a Highland loch in just 15 metres of water has been named as a museum worker from Edinburgh.

Rescuers said they did not know how Jennifer Simpson, 43, got into trouble during what was a "shallow" leisure dive in Loch Sunart in Ardnamurchan on Friday.

The alarm was raised shortly after 12.20pm and more than 20 vessels, including the Tobermory Lifeboat, and a Royal Navy rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet in Prestwick, searched for her for more than four hours.

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Fellow divers from two boats in the area also joined in to help the rescue search.

Her body was eventually found at the bottom of the loch by divers and pulled from the water onto the Tobermory Lifeboat at 4.40pm.

Dave Eakin, watch officer at Clyde Coastguard, which co-ordinated the search, said Ms Simpson had been diving with a partner when she failed to surface.

He said: "She was with another diver and they were diving off the Pappa Westray vessel to a depth of 15 metres, it was a shallow dive.

"It would seem that one came up and the other didn't. We just don't know what happened yet.

"There were a lot of vessels helped with the search and other divers from the area went down to try and find her. It went on for so long that some of the boats helping ran out of fuel and had to turn back.

"It would seem a bit odd that she would get into difficulty as it was only 15 metres, but we just don't know what happened."

Susan Gray, communications manager at National Museums Scotland where Ms Simpson worked as a Learning & Programmes Manager, said: "We have been shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Jen Simpson. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues and our thoughts are with her family at this sad time."

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At her home in Montgomery Street neighbours spoke of their shock.

Peter Thurlow, a pensioner, said: "This is terrible news. She was always very friendly."

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "I can't believe this. Jen was a very quiet person, but good fun."

Tobermory RNLI lifeboat Deputy Coxswain Lewis Drysdale said: "This is a very sad incident and we would all like to extend our sympathies to the casualty's family and friends.

"We would also like to thank all the vessels and people who searched so hard for the missing diver."

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