Searchers Find Unidentified Body In Wreckage

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Posted by on June 27, 2005 at 14:25:51:

In Reply to: Searchers Unable To Locate Missing Diver on the Yukon posted by on June 27, 2005 at 01:18:02:

Man Disappears While Exploring The Yukon

SAN DIEGO -- Crews discover a body while searching for a missing 50-year-old scuba diving instructor who disappeared while diving near a sunken ship off Mission Beach.

Lifeguards said the body was found near the bottom of the ship in a "challenging, small" space.

Steven O. Donathan was reported missing at about 6:25 p.m. Saturday after he was 35 minutes overdue from his dive near the sunken Canadian destroyer Yukon, lifeguard Sgt. Troy Keach said.

The initial report prompted a 40-minute search of the area by the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and lifeguard divers, lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh said.

Donathan was last seen at a depth of at least 75 feet, where only the most experienced divers go when at the Yukon, Keach said.

Thirty divers from various agencies searched for Donathan Sunday, Keach said.

bout 60 dives were made, with 90 percent of the interior of the ship and a large amount of the perimeter covered, Keach said.

"For someone as experienced as Steve, the Yukon should have been a piece of cake," said Steve Haynes, former president of San Diego Council of Divers, who heard that the missing diver was Donathan.

The 366-foot Yukon was intentionally sunk to a depth of 100 feet nearly five years ago as an artificial reef and an attraction for scuba divers.

It was the site of a fatal dive in late 2000 when Monica Vila, a 41-year-old recreational diver, died as she descended toward the warship with two family members.

Another experienced diver Mia Tegner, a 53-year-old marine biologist, died about a week later after diving on the Yukon and other sunken ships. Authorities say she ran out of air as she was coming to the surface, missing a decompression stop. Instead of heading to a hyperbaric chamber, investigators believe she grabbed another tank and dove back in to decompress and was never seen alive again.

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