A 47-year old Bellingham man told crewmembers he was having difficulty breathing as he ascended after diving for sea cucumbers in Griffin Bay this morning (May 9). He collapsed, resuscitation efforts by crew and rescue workers were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Jacksons Beach on San Juan Island.
San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou issued a press release outlining the event. The diver ascended, surfaced, then fell backwards into the water while attempting to climb the dive ladder onto the Lummi fishing vessel. Crewmembers pulled him out of the water and onto the boat.
A crew member administered CPR, while another called 9-1-1 as the boat headed for shore.
San Juan EMS and other emergency responders met the boat at Jacksons Beach landing and took over lifesaving efforts. The resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.
An investigation into the cause and circumstances of the man's death is underway by the Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner. The body was sent to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
According to San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou, the diver appeared to have been appropriately equipped, and there is no preliminary indication of alcohol or drug use.