Tributes have been paid to a former firefighter who has died in Malta in a diving tragedy. Andrew Longden, 50, from Bollington, was on an expedition to the Mediterranean island when the incident occurred. It is understood he got into trouble near one of the island’s most popular diving spots. His body has now been brought back to the UK following the tragedy on Tuesday, May 8. The retired firefighter was the ex-station Commander at Bollington and worked tirelessly with the Bollington and Macclesfield Community First Responders to see defibrillators installed throughout Bollington. Read More
He was also presented with a Civic Award in 2016 for his services to the community by former Bollington Mayor, Councillor Allan Williams. Bollington Town councillor Graham Hibbert said Mr Longden was known for caring deeply about those around him. He told the Express: “He was a very caring person who thought a lot about the community, he was a really nice bloke. “I am very shocked and saddened to hear of his passing and that we will no longer see him active around the village. He was a smashing person.” Mr Longden was part of Bolton Area Divers, where he had learned to dive. The club said that around 20 members of the diving school had been on the trip to Malta. Shereen Roberts, a director of Bolton Area Divers, said: “Andrew was a lovely man, just a really nice genuine person.”
Maltese Police said a man was diving off the north-east coast of the island when he began to struggle and had to be pulled to shore. A spokesperson for Malta Police said: “At about 11.45am the Police were informed that a diver found himself in difficulty whilst diving in Cirkewwa. “Officers from Mellieha Police station went on site, where preliminary investigations showed that whilst two divers were diving, one of them found himself in difficulty and was brought ashore by persons who were in the area. Read More
“The diver, a British national who is 50 years old, was taken to Mater Dei Hospital for medical assistance, however was unfortunately certified dead. “Police investigations are on going.” The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed they were liaising with Mr Longden’s family and Maltese Police. A file has been passed to the Cheshire coroner, who has started an initial investigation but an inquest had not been opened.