Posted by Northcoast_diver on August 16, 2004 at 12:36:44:
In Reply to: Auburn Man Missing: Possible Shark Attack posted by on August 16, 2004 at 12:22:00:
Man missing in possible shark attack near Ft. Bragg
Abalone diver from Auburn tells of 'big fish' swimming near friend, blood in water
Monday, August 16, 2004
By KATY HILLENMEYER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A 50-year-old abalone diver from Auburn, possibly the victim of a shark attack, remained missing late Sunday after disappearing in the ocean near Kibesillah Rock, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
"It's not confirmed it's a shark, but I don't know what else would do this kind of thing," sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Bushnell said after the 4 p.m. incident, which occurred south of Westport and north of Fort Bragg.
The missing man, Randall G. Fry, had just surfaced for air with a diving partner and the two Auburn men were preparing to dive again when Fry's companion saw "a big fish surface up between them," Bushnell said. "There was some blood in the water after the incident."
A third unidentified Auburn man waited nearby aboard their 28-foot fishing boat, which had ventured about 100 yards off shore north of Ten Mile River Beach, sheriff's and Coast Guard spokesmen said. Fry disappeared in relatively shallow water, about 15 feet deep, Bushnell estimated.
The uninjured diver swam back to the fishing boat and radioed the Coast Guard immediately, police said.
A widespread air and sea search began for Fry, involving three helicopters, two Coast Guard vessels and other responders. But the search was called off at nightfall, with searchers expected to resume at 8 a.m. this morning.
Personnel from the Westport Fire Department, California Department of Forestry and CalStar assisted sheriff's deputies, volunteers and Coast Guard crews in the search-and-rescue effort.
Bushnell, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff's department, said he could not recall a fatal shark attack off the Mendocino Coast.
"Our big issue is he's missing now," Bushnell said.
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