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S.J. man, 45, died pursuing a passion


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Posted by on February 26, 2006 at 20:18:46:

In Reply to: San Jose man may have drowned before shark attack posted by on February 25, 2006 at 19:06:45:

VACATION ON MAUI ENDS IN TRAGEDY

By Connie Skipitares and Dana Hull
Mercury News

Anthony Moore had been looking forward to the vacation he and his wife had booked to Maui for months. At work, he counted down the days until the trip, co-workers said.

Moore, a San Jose software engineer, was an avid surfer and freediver and planned to do plenty of both on the island. But on Thursday, a week into the couple's dream vacation, something went terribly wrong when the physically fit 45-year-old was freediving in the warm waters off the island's southwest shore and his body was torn apart by sharks.

On Friday morning, a guide from Maui Kayaks discovered part of Moore's shark-bitten body, diving goggles and fins floating near a popular dive spot known as ``Five Caves.'' Divers from the Maui Fire Department then found other body parts on the ocean floor, about 500 yards from shore. A Coast Guard official said Saturday that Moore's wife positively identified the remains Friday night, based in part on a rental car key on a lanyard with the body.

Loraine Moore, Anthony's wife, had not gone to dive with her husband. Authorities say he went alone, but had left a detailed ``float plan'' showing the spot where he would be diving at Makena Landing.

By all accounts, Moore was an experienced freediver -- which means diving without oxygen tanks.

What exactly happened to Moore off of Makena is not known. But Maui locals on Saturday warned of ``shallow water blackout,'' a sudden loss of consciousness caused by oxygen starvation as a diver ascends vertically to the surface.

``He probably got too far offshore and got caught in the currents,'' said John Evans of the Maui Diving and Scuba Center. ``Freediving is more of a local thing, but we have a lot of mainland people do it. A lot of people exceed their ability and get shallow water blackout.''

Richard LeCour, one of Moore's co-workers at Code Green Networks, a small network security company in Sunnyvale, said Moore was ``very well-liked'' and will be greatly missed.

``He had a great personality, a real positive attitude about everything,'' LeCour said. ``He always had a smile on his face, no matter what.''

Moore, who had worked at Code Green for about a year, often drove into the company parking lot with a surfboard on top of his car after spending the early morning riding the waves in Santa Cruz, LeCour said. Sometimes he would leave work early to catch the afternoon waves.

``He did love the ocean. He loved the waves, and he loved diving,'' LeCour said. ``During the recent surfing competition at Mavericks, you'd always see it up on his screen when you walked by his cubicle.''

The Moores had no children and were said to be very close. Moore always went home during his lunch break to spend it with his wife, LeCour said.

``We always kidded him about not wanting to eat lunch with us,'' LeCour said. ``But he was devoted to his wife. They lived for each other.''

LeCour said when a meeting was called at the company Friday to inform employees of the accident, ``everybody was in shock. The room was totally silent.''

Everyone knew what an avid and experienced diver Moore was, LeCour said, ``and we were surprised that he didn't go with a buddy.''

Loraine Moore could not be reached for comment Saturday.

According to local police and the U.S. Coast Guard, Moore left at about 3 p.m. Thursday to go diving off Makena Landing and told his wife he would be back around 5 p.m. When he didn't return, Loraine Moore called 911, prompting the Coast Guard to launch a massive search by air and sea Thursday evening.

Dr. Tony Manoukian, a coroner's physician in the morgue at Maui Memorial Medical Center, said he was not able to conclusively determine the cause of death. ``But we can't exclude the possibility that he was dead at the time of the attack,'' he said.

Manoukian, a forensic pathologist, said that a kidney congested with blood indicated that Moore probably drowned and was then attacked by sharks, as opposed to bleeding to death while alive.

``We see shallow water blackouts and drowning more frequently than shark attacks,'' said Manoukian, who added that the body may have been attacked by more than one species of shark. ``We have no evidence that it was anything other than a tiger or reef shark.''

Though Coast Guard officials said Moore did a lot of things right -- including leaving a detailed float plan -- several freediving Web sites say the first and most important rule of the extreme sport is never do it alone.

``He was very careful and very athletic. The float plan that he set up was right on,'' said Michael De Nyse of the Coast Guard. ``It's an unfortunate incident, and our hearts go out to the family.''



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