RESCUE teams raced to help a diver who was in difficulty off Portland Bill.

The casualty was taken by lifeboat, winched onto the coastguard helicopter and taken to Poole Hospital after suffering the bends.

Decompression sickness, known as the bends, refers to injuries caused by a rapid decrease in the pressure, of either air or water. It occurs most commonly in scuba or deep-sea divers.

A radio call from a dive vessel on the coast of Portland alerted the coastguard this afternoon.

The crew stated that one of the divers was in difficulty after returning to the vessel.

A coastguard helicopter, Weymouth RNLI Lifeboat, Poole Coastguard Rescue Team and South West Ambulance Service were all sent.

The diver was transferred to Weymouth RNLI lifeboat before being winched onto a coastguard helicopter.

Poole Coastguard Rescue Team prepared the helicopter landing site in Poole where the helicopter was met by ambulance and the diver was taken to a hyperbaric chamber.

The hyperbaric chamber is used to treat the bends.

As previously reported, the Coastguard helicopter was seen flying over Portland earlier today.

After leaving Portsmouth, it flew to Portland and then Poole, where the patient was taken to hospital before the coastguard team was stood down.

The flight path of the Coastguard helicopter this afternoonThe flight path of the Coastguard helicopter this afternoon (Image: ADS)