Northern California

Dublin Abalone Diver Drowns in Mendocino County: Sheriff

A Dublin man was among the three abalone divers who drowned in  Caspar Anchorage Bay in Mendocino County on Sunday, sheriff's officials said.

Tae Won Oh, 49, of Dublin, and Hyun Kook Shin, 49, of Suwanee,  Georgia, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff's deputies on Monday did not immediately release the name of the  third diver who drowned, pending notification of his next of kin, only saying  he was a 53-year-old man from Fort Lee, New Jersey.

According to Mendocino County sheriff's officials, the drownings  occurred when a group of five men who were not from the area went abalone diving in the southern portion of Caspar Anchorage Bay on Sunday afternoon.

Once under water, three of the men divers trapped in the surf of a  narrow channel between two rock outcroppings from where the divers had  initially entered the water.

Sheriff's officials said witnesses described the surf as appearing  rough and dangerous for diving conditions, with estimated seven to eight foot  swells.

After a nearby fisherman observed the men in distress, he called  911 at 3:09 p.m., prompting a water rescue operation involving the Mendocino  Volunteer Fire Department, California State Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard and  the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, deputies said.

Crews were able to rescue two divers by boat and helicopter, while  two of the other men were pronounced dead at the scene.

The fifth diver could not be immediately located and a search for  him continued throughout the day.

Rescuers were eventually able to find the  missing diver dead inside a small cove in the area at about 7 p.m. They were  able to recover him using a technical rope rescue, according to sheriff's  officials.

The two surviving men were uninjured and were released at the  scene.

A coroner's investigation into the three deaths is ongoing.

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