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Diver missing in the Coral Sea has been found

UPDATE, 12.30PM: Police say it was like "looking for a needle in a haystack" but a mammoth search and rescue effort to find a diver missing off the coast of Ayr has been a success, with the 68-year-old solo diver found alive and well.

Speaking to media this morning, a police spokesman said the man, who went missing about 6.45pm Sunday night, had been located at sea and been winched to safety by helicopter.

"(We're) absolutely ecstatic, it's a huge task to search a great pattern of the ocean so for police and rescue coordinators to achieve success at this time of day is a really great result," the spokesman said.

"We're told he is alive and well, and we're just happy it's resulted in this outcome so quickly."

The 68-year-old was travelling on his vessell alone, but police say he did all the right things before diving the popular tourist spot.

"The information that we had is the man left the vessel to do a dive, he was prepared, he had given instructions on his whereabouts he did have preparation in place and because of that when he didn't meet his contact point late yesterday afternoon authorities were notified," the police spokesman said.

"Through his prior planning it allowed us to initiate that search necessary to save his life."

Calmer seas through the night and this morning aided in the rescue, the police spokesman said.

"Every hour that somebody spends in the ocean, their chances diminish so the fact he's been found in the first 24 hours is a great result," he said. 

Six aircraft as well as a number of vessels in the water were involved in the massive search.

EARLIER: A DIVER has gone missing off the Yongala dive site in the Coral Sea.

Police say they received word around 6.45pm a 68-year-old man had gone to the site to dive on his own but had failed to return.

Volunteer Marine Rescue, Coastguard, and aerial searches have failed to find the man.

Mackay's RACQ CQ Rescue crew is on its way to help in the search. 

Searchers did find a vessel at the dive site around 8:45pm but nobody was aboard.

The SS Yongala dive site is one of Queensland's best preserved wrecks.

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