Missing Diver Rescued After Becoming Stranded

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Posted by on July 27, 2006 at 16:15:37:

ANTA CRUZ ISLAND - A diver reported missing from his dive boat in the Santa Barbara Channel between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands July 19 was rescued by a charter boat crew after becoming separated from his dive boat.

"We had picked up some campers from Santa Rosa and were heading toward Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz, when we saw the spout of a blue whale, so we stopped to observe," said Jim Oleson, boat captain aboard Islander, an Island Packers boat. "At about 3:20 p.m., we heard a PAN PAN call come over the marine radio from the Coast Guard, stating a diver was missing from the dive boat Katie Louis in the vicinity of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands. So, we stopped to see if we could locate the diver."

Cherryl Connolly, co-owner of Island Packers, was on Islander and spotted the diver in the water about 100 yards away. From there, Oleson and the rest of those on board worked to rescue the stranded diver.

"Once we spotted him, it only took about 10 minutes to get to him, pick him up and bring him on board," Oleson said.

The missing diver was spotted just west of Santa Cruz Island about halfway between Frazier Point and West Point, a popular diving area.

The Islander crew consisted of Oleson, Connolly, David Corey, Athyna Rock and Lee Fleischer. The diver was back on board Katie Louis within about 20 minutes of the Coast Guard's call.

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