THE Devon Air Ambulance managed to squeeze on to Teignmouth Fish Quay to pick up a diver suffering from the bends.

The man, in his 40s and from Taunton, was diving on the wreck of the Galicia about 21⁄2 miles off the coast, and complained of numbness and a lack of feeling when he came ashore.

It was the classic symptoms of the bends, but his condition is not thought to be serious.

The emergency services were alerted, with the helicopter despatched from its Exeter base at Sunday lunchtime.

The casualty was flown to the diving diseases research centre at Plymouth, where there is a decompression chamber. He is said to be stable, and is expected to make a good recovery.

Mark Layton, of the Teign Diving Centre at the harbour, said it was an incident-free dive, with no problems.

'There is no real explanation as to why he became unwell – it seems to be just one of those things that can sometimes happen.

'The air ambulance did a brilliant job landing in such a tight place – they were outstanding and cannot be praised enough.

'We hope the man makes a full recovery and is back diving again.'

A spokeswoman for the air ambulance said it flew low along the coast to Plymouth, because it was always preferable not to gain too much altitude in such cases.

The Galicia is a world war one cargo ship which was torpedoed, and is a popular haunt for leisure divers, both local and from further afield.