Three divers killed over weekend off California coast
Three recreational abalone divers died in separate incidents over the weekend in Northern California, where powerful rip currents were reported.
Santa Rosa (US): Three recreational abalone divers died in separate incidents over the weekend in Northern California, where powerful rip currents were reported.
A low tide drew the divers to the beaches looking for the mollusks that are prized delicacies by seafood lovers, the Press Democrat reported yesterday.
The body of a 66-year-old retired firefighter was found on Saturday afternoon off Shell Beach in Sonoma County.
Cedric Collett had been diving with a friend but didn`t resurface, the newspaper said. His body was found still in his weight belt, which is used to help a diver stay submerged while prying abalone loose from rocks.
Yesterday morning, several divers helped pull 36-year-old Kenneth Liu to shore after he got caught in a rip tide off nearby Salt Point State Park, but he couldn`t be revived, the newspaper said.
Several hours later, an unidentified diver was found dead north of Fort Bragg. A Sonoma County sheriff`s sergeant said the man might have been snagged in rocks.
Deaths from abalone diving are common during the recreational harvesting season. However, three in a single weekend was a shock, even to authorities.
"It`s the busiest we`ve been in that short amount of time with that many horrible outcomes," said Paul Bradley, a veteran helicopter pilot for the sheriff`s department.
Since the early 1990s, dozens of people have died in their quest to collect the prized sea snails. One diver was decapitated by a shark in Mendocino County in 2004.