Re: Diver disappears off of Van Damme

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Posted by on December 03, 2004 at 08:02:15:

In Reply to: Re: Diver disappears off of Van Damme posted by on December 03, 2004 at 07:53:13:

Search and rescue continued Monday for an abalone diver who was reported missing on Saturday off the Mendocino Coast at Van Damne State Park.

William Charles Krupski of San Francisco was diving with his wife on Saturday when the couple separated after losing their float tubes, according to Capt. Kevin Broin. Krupski, who's 57th birthday was Monday, is chief of vascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Francisco and a professor at the University of California San Francisco .

Since the water was getting rough, Ann Krupski decided to retrieve the float tubes but was unable to locate her husband after returning, Broin continued. She was able to swim back to shore in the rough waters and summon help. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office personnel was dispatched to a missing diver report at Van Damne State Park at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Mendocino County Swift Water Rescue, Mendocino Fire Department and Fort Bragg Fire Department assisted in the search for Krupski, but were called off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday due to hazardous surf and darkness, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department. The search continued on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., but was again delayed until Monday.

"We went in and did another search today (Monday), which included a shoreline search and we sent out our divers in the area looking for the missing person. We did find some equipment, an abalone iron (pry bar), but we have not located our missing person yet," Broin said. "At this point, we have found some equipment and feel that we are in the right area. The cloudiness of the water is making it difficult, but the water is starting to clear up."

The abalone equipment was found a few hundred yards off shore in about 20 feet of water, Broin stated. He said that another search and rescue team will be organized in that area today.

"We have a location where we found the equipment so we will organize another dive team and go out tomorrow and continue to search the shoreline. The water has been quite rough so it is just starting to settle down and our divers are able to see better under water ," Broin said.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Chief Don Miterko at Noyo Harbor, the station in Fort Bragg sent one life boat to the area and the air station at Humboldt Bay launched a helicopter on Saturday.

The search and rescue team remains hopeful to find Krupski alive, but the chances of him surviving are decreasing, according to Broin.

"One can only speculate, but as time passes any hope of him surviving are quite diminished. We don't want to lose hope, but at this point it looks more like a recovery situation," Broin said.

According to Mendocino County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Coroner Lt. Kurt Smallcomb, four people have died while abalone diving in Mendocino County this year, including Randall Fry who was killed by a shark on Aug. 15.

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