Great Barrier Reef divers found

Two scuba divers have been found alive after spending a night missing on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The two were rescued nine miles from where they left their chartered diving boat.

The British man and American woman were winched to safety after an 18-hour search involving a dozen aircraft.

They were flown to a hospital in Queensland, where they are said to be in good spirits despite suffering mild hypothermia.

The divers were spotted by a rescue helicopter near the Whitsunday Islands off Queensland’s coast.

Officials said the 38-year-old man and his female companion, 40, were lucky to be alive, and credited their survival to their diving experience and ability to remain calm.

“They strapped themselves together using their weight belts, they conserved energy, stayed as a pair and awaited rescue,” said Shane Chelepy, a Queensland police official.

The divers had become lost on Friday when they resurfaced 200 yards (metres) from their dive boat after a reef dive.

Officials said it was inevitable such mishaps would occur on the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system – which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, says the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney.