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Petaluma man, 50, dies while scuba diving


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Posted by on May 02, 2007 at 15:50:54:

In Reply to: 4 ab divers die in 5 days posted by Eric S on May 02, 2007 at 15:30:19:

Monday, April 30, 2007

(04-30) 17:18 PDT -- A Petaluma scuba diver, who went spearfishing in rough ocean conditions along the Sonoma County coast, died Sunday after being wedged between rocks and pounded by heavy surf, a search-and-rescue officer said today.

Victor Smith, 50, was pronounced dead shortly after he was plucked from the water about 9:30 a.m. at Stillwater Cove, north of Jenner.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Eric Thomson said Smith was spearfishing in old scuba gear and did not have a buoyancy compensator, a safety vest commonly referred to as a BC that can be filled with air and is standard scuba gear.

Smith went diving alone -- a practice that is widely discouraged -- while two friends were diving for abalone using just snorkels and masks. When he surfaced a half-hour later amid turbulent water, he began yelling for help, Thomson said.

By the time a rescue helicopter arrived, Smith was pinned under water between two rocks as the foaming waves smashed against his body. Thomson lowered himself from the helicopter on a 100-foot line and managed to free Smith and pull him out of the water, but it was too late.



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