Tragic End to Abalone Dive, Three Dead


Search and rescue underway for missing divers at Caspar Beach near Mendocino. [Fotomendo made this “screen grab” from the Caspar RV Park webcam.]

Abalone season saw its first tragedy on the North Coast yesterday. Three members of a vacationing party near Mendocino drowned after attempting a dive on Sunday afternoon off the Caspar Headlands.

Eventually, a passing fisherman spotted at least one diver in trouble and radioed for help at 2:42 P.M. Two of the divers were rescued, and two found deceased soon after. Another was seen struggling but then disappeared before he could be rescued. Coast Guard helicopters and searchers combed the nearby waters for the missing man for several hours. The ocean conditions during the rescue were described by Mendocino resident Antone Schlafer as “ridiculously rough.”

Searchers spotted the third and final body about “50′ off shore in shallow water” just before 7:00 p.m. By 8:26 p.m., the body had been recovered and rescuers cleared the scene.

The Press Democrat says the five divers “were among 10 friends who had just arrived in the area and were renting a vacation home at the south end of Caspar Beach.

(Thanks to Mendocinosportsplus who covers Mendocino County on his Facebook site and provided excellent coverage of this event.)

UPDATE 10:06 A.M.: Click here for more on this story.



  • Oh my this is so sad,I’m so sorry for the family’s God bless you.the waters we dive in are so dangerous, even on good days.i spent my lifetime growing up in a family of divers,my uncle was a world class champ.diver at times he struggled.weight belt pry bars you gotta know what your doing!!!

  • When I was young and in my prime, I’d dive rough waters from time to time. Now that Im older and have more sense ? Who knows. We drive all the way there antisapating a good time after a long winter. With the thought of a good abalone dinner running through our minds. Only to find the ocean all messed up. So we look around for a protected cove like Casper. It has easy access to get in and out of . going in off a sandy beach where there is no big surge and a bunch of rocks. Can be very temping and misleading both. There are no abalone close to that sandy beach. So take the time to walk up on the bluffs and see what it looks like where your going to be diving. It may save your life. The words of the observer (ridiculously rough) are enough to tell me to stay dry . Go check out some other attraction the mendicino coast has to offer. There are plenty. I know this doesn’t change what happened. But as much as I love a good dive and an abalone dinner. I don’t want a story like this being told about my buddies and me just because I was hell bent on making a dive. This didn’t have to happen. That’s the saddest part. Stay safe and have fun. Ill be down there next month.

  • Pingback: Names of Two Deceased Divers Released, More Details Provided | Redheaded Blackbelt

  • I hope and pray for.the losses of your families and im.sorry for.this drastic tragities…

  • Pingback: Third Deceased Abalone Diver Identified | Redheaded Blackbelt

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