Northern Ireland news

Sympathies offered to golf ball diver as investigation into death gets underway

Police at the Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf and Country Club on Tuesday, following the death of a man while diving for golf balls in a course lake.
Paul Ainsworth

SYMPATHIES have been offered to the family of a man who died while searching for golf balls at a course in Co Antrim.

The man, who is understood to have been in his fifties, was diving with another male on Tuesday at a lake on the Hilton Templepatrick golf course.

The pair were wearing scuba diving gear and had retrieved several balls from the water before a call was made to emergency services.

A member of the local Community Service Rescue (CSR) team who attended the scene alongside NI Fire and Rescue officers and paramedics said the man appeared to have the correct equipment to carry out the diving.

"It was evident that they had already recovered some golf balls from the lake because there were a couple of bags of golf balls at the edge of the lake," CSR regional commander Sean McCarry said, adding: "So they had been fairly successful in the job they were doing up to that point."

A risk assessment document issued by an English scuba diving club for retrieving golf balls warns collectors that balls are usually "buried in silt" and are gathered by kneeling on the bottom of the body of water and using "touch alone".

The document from Totnes Sub Aqua Club warns: "Underwater visibility is usually reduced to near zero once collection commences. In such conditions it is virtually impossible to read instruments without rising above the silt cloud, or to retain buddy contact."

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has launched an investigation.

The Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf and Country Club said it was very saddened to learn of the fatality.

"We assisted the emergency services, when needed, yesterday. Our thoughts are with the bereaved family at this difficult time."

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