Underwater salvage leads to man's death

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Posted by on January 08, 2005 at 20:49:37:

Underwater salvage leads to man's death

By staff reports
January 7, 2005

A 42-year-old Portland, Ore., man was killed Thursday morning offshore Ventura County while retrieving a submerged vessel, authorities said.

Thomas Ohryn died at 10:47 a.m. at the emergency room of the Ventura County Medical Center, where he was taken after the accident.

Ohryn was working with a commercial salvage company contracted to retrieve a fishing boat, New Horizon, which had capsized Dec. 21 in an area known as the Anacapa Passage. The area is between Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands.

The five people aboard the vessel were not injured, said Greg Zerfass, a boat mate with the United States Coast Guard station at Channel Islands Harbor.

Officials said the crew used a large crane on Thursday to retrieve the boat, which now was about a mile offshore from Faria Beach.

Ohryn, who was about 10 feet below the surface, was caught between the boat and the derrick.

His air line was cut off and he suffered crushing injuries, said Craig Stevens, a deputy medical examiner with the Ventura County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.

U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Tonya Harrington said the cause of the accident was not known and was under investigation.

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