31 Oct 2012

Sea cucumber diver third Tonga fisher's death in six days

3:35 pm on 31 October 2012

An inquest is to be held in Tonga to confirm the cause of death of a man who suffered decompression sickness while diving for sea cucumbers yesterday in the outlying Ha'apai group of islands.

The unidentified man, who is believed to have been diving illegally using gas cylinders at Tungua, is the third fisherman to die in a week.

The Matangi Tonga website reports Tonga Police saying that although it is not known for certain what killed the man, the doctor who examined him says his symptoms were consistent with decompression sickness.

Using compressed air to harvest sea cucumbers is illegal under the Tonga Fisheries Act.

Last week a 25-year-old man drowned after his leg seemingly became tangled in a nylon line that he used while diving for sea cucumber, on the northern coast of 'Atata Island.

A day later the body of a 22-year-old fisherman from Patangata was found on the reef by other fishermen returning from Pangaimotu Island.