Missing dive photographer feared dead

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Posted by on March 21, 2007 at 10:45:40:

In Reply to: Search suspended for missing underwater photographer posted by on March 21, 2007 at 10:27:42:

The search for an underwater photographer missing from Eureka since Saturday has been called off, according to an official from the U.S. Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay.

“We have suspended the active search for the person as of sunset last night because of the information we had that the survivability probability was too low at that point,” said Lt. Scott Parkhurst.

The missing man, 35-year-old Kawika Chetron, an experienced diver and accomplished underwater photographer, set out Saturday morning from the Eureka Public Marina and was expected to return that night.

When he failed to do so, a friend notified the Coast Guard, which located his 17-foot Boston Whaler anchored in the Blunts Reef area near just west of Cape Mendocino.

An exhaustive search by boat and aircraft began at once, and Parkhurst confirmed that civilian divers were sent down Tuesday in the vicinity of the vessel. But, he said, “They found nothing that gave us any more information than we already had.”

Chetron’s boat, called Rapture, was towed in Tuesday night by the Coast Guard Small Boat Station in Samoa, Parkhurst said.

It was initially hoped Chetron could still be alive because of the quality of his diving gear, which included a heavy-duty dry suit with two thermal liners.

While the active search has been called off, Parkhurst said that as boats pass through and aircraft pass over the area, Coast Guard personnel would “definitely keep an eye out” for the photographer.

Chetron, a resident of San Francisco, holds degrees from both Harvard College and the Stanford School of Engineering.

For additional information about his life and his photography, visit www.coldwaterimages.com.

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