Posted by Max Bottomtime on May 27, 2011 at 15:03:28:|
LAGUNA BEACH - A San Clemente diver was declared dead Thursday night shortly after rescuers found him tangled in kelp and without a pulse in the ocean off Laguna Beach.
Authorities have not released the man's identity but said he was a 40-year-old San Clemente resident. He was free diving to spearfish, not scuba diving. Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow said he did not know how experienced a diver the man was.
An ambulance gets ready to transport the diver to Mission Hospital after he was found by rescue divers in Divers Cove, Laguna Beach.
The man told a friend that he was going to spearfish in Divers Cove when he left work around 1 p.m. Thursday. His family grew worried when he hadn't returned home by 5:30 p.m. and went to look for him.
They found his car parked at Divers Cove with his equipment missing, Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Lloyd Downing said.
Night-diving experts from Laguna Beach lifeguards searched the water, aided by Harbor Patrol vessels and a Sheriff's Department helicopter. A Harbor Patrol boat found the man tangled in kelp and submerged about a foot under water, about 200 yards from shore, just before 10:30 p.m., Snow said.
The man was not breathing and had no pulse. Rescuers performed CPR in the boat and on land before taking him to Mission Hospital, where he was declared dead.
The cause of the man's death has not been determined.
The man was diving alone, which spearfishers occasionally do to avoid scaring away fish, Snow said. But authorities encourage divers to always swim with a buddy, he said.