S.F. man dies diving for abalone

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Posted by on June 19, 2007 at 12:21:25:

MENDOCINO -- A San Francisco man died Sunday while diving for abalone off the Mendocino coast, officials said.

Sun Wong, 51, was free-diving in the Mendocino Headlands near Jack Peters Creek when his wife spotted him unconscious in the water, said Mendocino County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Bushnell. She notified California Department of Fish and Game officials, who pulled Wong to shore and tried to revive him. Wong was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

Wong, who was diving by himself, wasn't far from shore, according to Bushnell. State regulations prohibit divers from using scuba equipment to gather the animals, which are an expensive seafood delicacy.

Wong is one of about a half-dozen people who have died this year while diving for the mollusks in Northern California. Bushnell said that most divers perish from heart attacks, or when they overestimate their physical ability and drown.

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