A man has died after getting into trouble during a diving expedition off the Moray coast.
The 38 year-old was in shallow waters a few hundred yards from Findochty harbour when the incident happened yesterday.
The RNLI lifeboat crew from Buckie was called to the scene at about 12.40pm.
The man was taken aboard a lifeboat then transported to the harbour side, where he was pronounced dead by medical staff.
The body was taken from the scene by a Sea King search and rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth.
A police spokesman said: “We can confirm that a 38-year-old man has died whilst diving off the Moray coast.
“The dead man had been diving with colleagues when he got into difficulties.
“Despite the efforts of other divers and rescue crews the diver sadly died.
“Officers are investigating the circumstances of the man’s death and, as is normal, a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in due course.”
One woman said she saw the incident while walking with her partner and children along Iglis beach to the west of Findochty, near a landmark rock known locally as the Pan Lochie.
The onlooker said: “The boat the diver was on was not very far out to sea at all.
“When the lifeboat came along and pulled up beside it we didn’t really think anything of it at first – it’s quite common to see the lifeboat around here.
“It wasn’t until we saw the helicopter arrive that we realised just how serious the situation was.”
Other villagers also reported that the rigid inflatable boat (Rib) which the diver and the rest of his group were using had not been far from the shore.
One man, who said he knows that coastline very well, said: “It’s definitely not deep enough there for a diver to get the bends by surfacing too quickly.
“Whatever did happen to him, it must have been something other than that.”
Locals reported seeing police officers talking at length on the quayside to three people who had been with the diver.
The trio were described as being “very upset”.
None of the group is believed to come from the village.
A pick-up truck arrived at the harbour later in the afternoon and towed away a car which is understood to belong to the man.
A spokesman for the coastguard said: “We were called from a mobile by one of the people that the diver was with.
“They had rung 999 saying that he had resurfaced but seemed to be unconscious and they were having difficulty getting him out of the water and back onto the boat.
“We requested the launch of the Buckie lifeboat and the search and rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth, which was already up in the air as it had been on an exercise in the mountains.
“The diver was still in the water when the lifeboat arrived at the scene.
“The crew managed to get him onboard and took him to the harbour.”
Findochty is not traditionally a well-known area for diving, although it is understood that small groups involved with the sport have recently started coming more frequently to the village.