Abalone diver's death is 9th of year off North Coast

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Posted by on June 21, 2007 at 07:42:56:

In Reply to: Drowned abalone diver identified posted by on June 21, 2007 at 07:37:47:

Body of SF man pulled from water near Mendocino after wife's call for help


A 51-year-old San Francisco man died Sunday morning while abalone diving near Mendocino -- the ninth person to die this year off the North Coast.

The death of the man, whose name was not released, was the sixth involving abalone hunting along the Mendocino County coast this season.

At about 9:30 a.m., the man's wife noticed her husband's motionless body in the waters near Jack Peters Creek and motioned to two other divers for help, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported.

The divers removed the victim from the water, but responding paramedics pronounced the man dead.

The cause of the death is under investigation, Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Dygert said.

"We've had quite a few more deaths this year," he acknowledged.

The death continues a pattern in which most victims are not from the North Coast.

Press Democrat records show two-thirds of the abalone hunters who died on the North Coast in the past 10 years were from outside Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The past abalone hunting death was May 21, when Hung Truong Ha, 59, of San Jose drowned near the Point Arena Lighthouse.

Salina Sau Yee Cheung, 60, of Gilroy was rock-picking abalone when she died April 18. Her death was attributed to a heart-related medical emergency.

On the same day, Arthur Boyd, 70, of Atascadero drowned near Caspar while rock-picking abalone. A heart condition also contributed to that drowning, officials said.

The next day, Mang Jay Yang, 36, of Suisun drowned while abalone-picking near the Point Arena Lighthouse.

On April 22, Craig Richards Sangalli, 51, of Oakland died of a heart-related problem believed to have been brought on by the cold, rough water. He had been diving for abalone.

On April 7, Hak Song Kim, 55, of Fort Bragg drowned apparently after being washed off the rocks while fishing near Mendocino, authorities said.

Two coastal deaths have been reported this year in Sonoma County: Victor Smith, 50, of Petaluma drowned April 29 while scuba diving near Stillwater Cove Regional Park and Robert Fletcher, 49, of Wheatland died in March after falling off a marina dock at Bodega Bay.

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