Search crews find missing scuba diver's body in waters off Channel Islands

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Posted by on July 15, 2007 at 06:33:24:

In Reply to: A death on the VISION posted by stephen clark on July 12, 2007 at 15:52:53:


Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue crews believe they have recovered the body of a missing Sonoma County man. Stewart Hindley disappeared Tuesday during a dive trip in the waters off the Channel Islands.

A Santa Barbara County dive team found the body Wednesday morning in the waters south east of Santa Cruz Island. Hindley came to Santa Barbara to take part in a 3 day scuba excursion.

On Saturday, Hindley and more than 30 other certified divers left the Santa Barbara Harbor aboard an 88 foot boat called The Vision.

"This time of year it runs fairly regularly they get off the dock on a couple of three day trips a week, said Chris Callahan-Dudley, the manager of Truth Aquatics, the Santa Barbara company that charters the scuba trips.

During the trip the group planned to go scuba diving in the waters off San Clemente and Santa Cruz Island.

But on the third day of the excursion, Hindley, a considerably experienced diver disappeared.

"Three of them together were diving. At some point they communicated let's go to the surface because they were getting low on air. Two of them came to the surface, the third one did not," said Vision Captain Thomas Cappannelli.

Cappannelli grew concerned after Hindley failed to come up.

"A few minutes had passed and they expressed their concern to us that there was a third person they had been diving with. At which point we initiated our emergency crew," he said.

Coast Guard crews, Los Angeles Lifeguards and a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Dive team spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning searching for Hindley.

Early Wednesday, searchers found a body near the location where Hindley was last seen.

Despite this apparent tragedy Callahan-Dudley said the sport is generally safe.

"Diving's a pretty safe sport and most people are able to get to the surface and signal for help before anything happens," said Callahan-Dudley.

According to Cappannelli, Hindley was a certified diver with at least 50 dives under his belt.

The body is being taken to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's for official identification.

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