A diver has been rescued hundreds of metres offshore of a South Australian beach after she was swept out to sea late last night.

Key points:

  • The 45-year-old was swept out to sea by a rip
  • She used a torch to get noticed in the water
  • A police patrol spotted the faint light from the shore

The 45-year-old woman was in a group that was night diving at Port Noarlunga, in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, when she was caught in a rip about 10:20pm.

Rescue boats and the police helicopter searched from the air, but it was a patrol on the shoreline that spotted a light in the sea about 1 kilometre off the coast.

“Patrols established cordon points along the coastline and they were able to spot a faint torchlight,” Senior Constable Kate Dawson said.

Sea Rescue Squadron boats and the police helicopter quickly descended on the area where the torchlight was spotted and found the diver.

“Our best understanding is that there were three people doing a practice night dive and the conditions changed and the current started to run fairly strongly away from the shore,” Commodore Frank Miller said.

“Two of the people involved were able to swim back to shore but the third one wasn’t able to.

“A lot of things worked in her favour, inasmuch as we had a vessel very, very quickly able to respond and she had the light, and the light made all the difference.”

The woman was hauled from the water about an hour after she was reported missing.

Police praised the woman’s quick thinking, and said her actions led to her discovery.

The woman was retrieved about 11:20pm and was led back to shore by paramedics, who treated her at the scene for fatigue.

“We’d just like to thank everyone who assisted,” Senior Constable Dawson said.

“It was a really great job and a fantastic outcome.”