Authorities suspend search for John Park (free diver) missing off Laguna Beach

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Posted by on September 12, 2008 at 14:31:28:

In Reply to: Search is on for missing freediver in Laguna Beach posted by on September 12, 2008 at 11:33:18:

Man who was spearfishing has been missing since Thursday evening.

LAGUNA BEACH Authorities have suspended the search for a 29-year-old free diver who went missing underneath the offshore waters Thursday evening while spear fishing.

Fire boats, helicopters, snorkel and dive teams have found no trace of John Park, a resident of Buena Park, after searching the waters for 11 hours, officials said.

“Nothing has turned up,” said Sgt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Park was spear fishing with his father and another man Thursday near Aliso Creek when he went missing, Kravetz said. The three men were diving into the waters close to the coast when Park did not come out.

When park didn't resurface, his father and the second man began searching for him for more than 30 minutes before contacting authorities, Kravetz said. The Laguna Beach police contacted the Coast Guard, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Newport Beach Police Department for assistance and equipment to aid in the search, including helicopters and boats.

Authorities searched until 1 a.m. today and resumed at 6:30 a.m. after sunrise, said Ensign Stephanie Young, public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard.

At 8:10 a.m., the Coast Guard suspended their search after “exhausting all of their models,” Young said.

Coast Guard officials take into account time, conditions and other factors to determine the survivability of the victim, she said. Search teams have not found signs of the missing man since the search began and the Coast Guard suspended its efforts.

Local authorities continued the search for about three hours.

Lifeguards will continue to patrol the coast from the beach to search for the missing diver, who was wearing a wet suit when he was diving, Kravetz said.

“He could potentially be out there,” Kravetz said.

The coast along Laguna Beach is lined with several underwater caves which have trapped divers in the past, although it is unknown if that is what happened with Park, Kravetz said.

The Laguna Beach Police will continue to handle the case as a missing person, Kravetz said. No foul play is suspected and the incident appears to have been an accident.

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