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Diver missing - Emerald Bay - Catalina Island

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Incident, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Catalina H2o

    Catalina H2o Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oceanside/Temecula, California
    Here is an article for the Orange County news.

    Five divers have died off Southern California shores since lobster season began last weekend.

    Four of the five deaths occurred while lobster diving, all at night. The lobster hunting season began locally Sept. 27.

    Inexperience, weather conditions and health issues may have contributed, diving experts say.

    A man who disappeared Monday evening near Catalina Island became the fifth local fatality on Thursday after his body was recovered 100 feet under water.

    The hunt for the delectable crustaceans sometimes lures divers into dark ocean waters in pursuit of the nocturnal creatures. State law allows for an individual to possess seven lobsters at a time.

    Complications arise from diving, especially at night, say officials and local scuba experts.

    “More accidents or fatalities may occur in the first couple of weeks because the excitement of the new season brings out many divers, many who do not typically hunt or dive at night,” said Debbie Karimoto of Mission Viejo. She has been diving for more than 12 years and oversees OCdiving.com, an online forum and news site.

    “Less experienced divers may not be prepared for the added risks of hunting or night-diving, or their excitement may cause them to forget the basics,” she said.

    Coast Guard officials reported a death around sunset on opening night Saturday in Catalina, after a man surfaced complaining of health issues. A boat captain called for medical assistance, and the man died en route to a hospital, said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.

    Another diver in Catalina went missing for days after he was reported in distress around 11 p.m. Monday. Heavy search efforts for the man lasted for than 69 hours before a helicopter, rescue divers and the majority of the search boats stopped around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday night.

    “First several hours is deemed active rescue,” said A.J. Lester, a Los Angeles County Fire Department ocean lifeguard specialist. “After several hours, it is no longer deemed a rescue; it’s more like a body recovery, because there is no way someone can last that long underwater.”

    The most recent victim was found around 11:30 a.m. Thursday about 100 feet underwater, just outside Emerald Bay.

    Another lobster diver died Wednesday morning off the coast of Anacapa Island, within the Channel Islands National Park.

    Another diver suffered medical complications around 7 p.m. in the San Diego Mission Bay channel. He began to struggle near the surface of the water and his partner attempted to keep him afloat until paramedics came, but the partner couldn’t hold on. The man was under water for about 6 minutes, said San Diego Fire Department officials. He was pronounced dead shortly after 8 p.m. at a local hospital, said fire Capt. Joseph Amador.

    Another scuba diver with medical problems was reported in distress around 10:40 p.m. in Long Beach near the jetty at the Alamitos Bay.

    “Apparently the patient was just getting into the water, not yet started the dive and he experienced chest discomfort and lapses of consciousness,” said Long Beach fire Paramedic Public Information Officer Jake Heflin.

    The man, who has not been identified, was transported on a rescue boat to shore, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 11 p.m.

    Bob Grundmeyer, a 34-year diving veteran and instructor at Orange County Dive Center, said divers need to constantly maintain and practice safety skills to avoid complications.

    “The biggest thing about our sport is common sense,” he said. “(Instructors) make it that way on purpose; everything is designed to be easy and convenient. Unfortunately, you just can’t teach people common sense sometimes, even though you teach them safety.”

    Karimoto said she plans to head back out this weekend with her dive club and hopes there will be no more loss of life due to lobster diving.

    “It’s a wonderful sport and very safe as long as people dive within their training, experience and fitness levels,” she said. “No one’s life is worth risking for that tasty crustacean that could also be called an ocean’s cockroach.”

    Local lobster season ends March 18.
  2. Ken Kurtis

    Ken Kurtis Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Beverly Hills, CA
    It's not. This was one that neither the Chamber nor the Coroner was aware of so we did some follow-up with USCG. It seems the Register got it wrong and combined two accidents to create a third that doesn't exist.

    There was a fatality on Santa Cruz on 9/27, where they attempted to contact a private air ambulance service who could not do a pickup. USCG was in the area and came over to assist but it was too rough for them to directly intervene and the dive boat had the situation in hand. Due to water conditions, the dive boat made the crossing back to the mainland to offload the victim, who had been declared dead by that point. The Catalina fatality ocurred the evening of 9/29 and the body was not recovered until 10/2.

    So the total is 5, not 6 as I had thought, the difference being #2 in my post (#28 in this thread) was an inaccurate combination of #1 and #3.

    Still too many.

    - Ken
  3. raftingtigger

    raftingtigger Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Woodland, CA, USA
    A re-postof my post on another thread on the subject:

    A speculation on what goes through the mind of a lobster diver that is not in physical shape to do the dive by looking at what went through my husband's mind on a recent backpacking trip.

    He is very experienced in backpacking and has for years been able to "just go backpacking" without much preparation. He has also been able to carry a lot heavier gear than is needed (or desired). However he is now 65 and hasn't been doing any exercise for the last few years. We went on a simple, but steep, 3 mile trek with his Boy Scout troop 2 weeks ago. About 1/2 mile into the trek he started to have trouble and got very fatigued. He was trail sweep and I was in the middle of the pack, but decided to wait for him at the first trail junction. After waiting what seemed like forever I dropped my pack and went back down the trail to find him sitting in the middle of the trail looking "like crap" to the point of temporary incapacitation. I started to get really concerned when he let me take some of his load, and even more so when he let another leader take the remainder of his pack. I'll tell you hiking up a trail while considering how long you can do CPR - or more importantly how long should (neither of us wants to live as a vegetable) do CPR is no fun. Had this happened diving there is a very good chance I would now be a widow.

    We talked about it later and it was a real eye-opener for my husband. He could do it before, so he should be able to do it now. Doesn't matter he is 40 years older and bit fatter. He doesn't even look out of shape. It took an almost disaster, and embarrassment in front of the other scout leaders for him to see reality. He did go see the doctor, is starting a little exercise, and I've put his backpack on a strict diet. It wasn't that he didn't have enough clues - some pointed from me - before hand. He just wasn't willing to see them before.
    Selchie in LB likes this.
  4. dytis-sm

    dytis-sm Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Monica, CA
    Any accident report on this incident. I have heard a few rumors as to the cause of the incident at Emerald bay but wonder if there is an official determination and report.
    From what I have heard, the diver was fit, but over weighted because of a new dry suit and never dropped his weights. As speculated, he did make it to the surface and called for help but sank again because of the weight. From the bits and pieces of the info I got, it appeared like an out of air situation turning ugly but wonder if there is an official report on the events and findings.

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