Two experienced divers have died in an expedition to a submarine wreck off the coast of the Republic.
The men, both in their 60s, well-qualified and believed to be from England, were in waters about 42 metres (138ft) deep off Cork when the tragedy occurred yesterday.
One of the men was pulled from the water unconscious and airlifted to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A second man was discovered after a seven-hour search.
The men were understood to be in a party of experienced divers who went to dive on the U-260, an almost-intact wreck of a German U-Boat that sank several miles offshore in 1945.
The men got into difficulty 4.5 miles out from Castlehaven and south-west of Glandore bay at about 9.30am.
The group were in an expedition from the Aquaventures Dive Centre, based at Baltimore, west Cork.
It is believed the men may have surfaced after a first early-morning dive and went under the water to decompress but did not resurface.
They are the latest diving related deaths in the last month after two men died in separate incidents off Cork and Donegal over one weekend in June.
“We have known some of these people for 35 years. It’s very, very devastating,” a woman at the dive centre said.
“They were both very experienced divers. They were very, very qualified.”
Staff said they were dealing with calls from concerned friends and relatives of the men most of the day.
The search operation was being co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard based at Valentia.
The Irish Navy vessel the LE Aisling was tasked to the area to assist in the search operation.