Monday, July 16 , 2018, 3:33 am | Fair 65º


Local News

Missing Diver Found Dead on Santa Cruz Island

Authorities say Andres Martinez, 64, owner of the 'Josefina Dos' out of Santa Barbara, disappeared while diving for urchins

A 64-year-old urchin diver who disappeared near Santa Cruz Island was found dead late Tuesday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The body of Andres Martinez was discovered by the U.S Coast Guard on the beach and positively identified by the sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau, said sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars.

There were no signs of foul play, Sugars said, adding that an investigation would be conducted that could take several weeks.

The Coast Guard was notified about 1 p.m. Monday that the diver, from the fishing vessel “Josefina Dos” out of Santa Barbara, had not resurfaced, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Mendenhall.

Martinez, the owner of the vessel, and two other men traveled on Martinez’s boat Monday morning to an area about 300 yards off the north end of Santa Cruz Island, where all three conducted their dive to a depth of about 25 feet, Sugars said.

Ninety minutes later, after the other two men had completed their dives, they began searching for Martinez, who had not resurfaced, Sugars said. Divers with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department joined the search, during which time they discovered Martinez’s weight belt and some other items at the bottom of the dive location, Sugars said.

A rescue helicopter out of Los Angeles was dispatched to the scene, Mendenhall said, along with the cutter “Halibut” from Marina del Rey.

The search also involved a rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, and the Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin from Santa Barbara. A helicopter and divers from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County divers also responded to the scene, Mendenhall said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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