Body of diver recovered from sunken ship

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Posted by on June 28, 2005 at 13:53:23:

In Reply to: Scuba veteran's body found at bottom of sunken warship posted by on June 28, 2005 at 08:43:54:

SAN DIEGO City lifeguards recovered the body of 50-year-old scuba diver Steven Donathan from a sunken ship in the waters off Mission Beach Tuesday morning.

A crew of 15 headed out to the wreck of the Yukon about 7:30 a.m. and brought the body to the surface just before 10 a.m., according to city lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan.

Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma described the recovery conditions as "very challenging."

The divers were operating at a depth of 100 feet in the boiler room of the ship, an area that was not conducive to scuba divers entering it.

An inch of silt in the boiler room kicked up and "created blackout conditions" when the divers entered, Lerma said.

Additionally the area was littered with debris, hanging pipes and other jagged pieces of metal, making the recovery dangerous, Lerma said. The recovery team had to leave behind some of its equipment, which a crew was to retrieve Tuesday afternoon.

Donathan's body was located Monday afternoon in the bottom deck of the scuttled destroyer Yukon, 100 feet below the surface. He disappeared in a dive to the ship Saturday afternoon.

It has not been determined what caused the experienced diving instructor's death. Fellow divers said they believe he may have gotten stuck inside the wreck.

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