An anxious wait for family of dead diver

THE devastated parents of an oil rig worker who died while working in the North Sea, have said they face a long wait to learn how their son died.

Darfield couple Richard and Carol Robinson have returned home after rushing to Scotland, where their son Russell, 33, had been working offshore for Integrated Subsea Services.

The experienced diver, whose baby daughter was born just seven weeks ago, died on board the Balmoral floating production vessel. He was apparently unconscious when brought to the surface by colleagues, following a dive on October 30, in the ocean about 140 miles north east of Aberdeen.

This week, his mother Carol spoke of the family’s huge shock and grief at their loss, and told the Times they expected a lengthy investigation.

She said: “We know it will be a long process and we don’t expect to learn exactly how Russell died for some time yet.

“It has been the most horrendous week for us, but we are sure that everything that can be done, is being done”.

She continued: “We don’t know how this could have happened. Russell had worked on the rigs for some years, and the safety procedures out there are second to none.

“This has left the diving industry in a state too - they are conducting their own investigations”.

Russell’s partner, Lorna Gannon, of Mount Vernon Road, Barnsley, is in deep shock, said Mrs Robinson.

She added: “Lorna can’t speak about it at the moment. We’re there for her and that’s all we can do at this time”.

Her son had loved his work as a diver, she said. On the day of his death he had been on a routine diving job with two other divers.

His parents had been visited at their home address soon after the tragedy, to be told the sad news.

The Health and Safety Executive is working with ISS, Premier Oil and Grampian police, to discover the full facts surrounding the death.

A spokeswoman for ISS confirmed this week that the cause of Russell’s death was still unknown although she said “it appears not to be the result of a specific incident”.

Ian Herd, managing director of ISS, said “This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to Russell’s family, his friends and his colleagues”.

Premier Oil’s North Sea Business Unit’s general manager, Nigel Wilson, said: “We are working closely with ISS to support his family, the dive team and other personnel offshore, and to establish full details of what happened.”