Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

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Update by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

The Sheriff’s Office has taken lead in the search for a missing diver near Santa Cruz Island. At approximately 6:45 p.m. yesterday, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) responded to the Painted Cave Preserve to search for a diver who had not surfaced. The diver, 34-year-old Ryder Sturt of Port Hueneme, and a dive partner had been tank diving for lobster off of a 20-foot recreational boat in the area. When the dive partner surfaced and Sturt did not, the dive partner radioed for help. 

The USCG Cutter Narwal responded to the request for assistance and searched the waters off Santa Cruz Island overnight while FOB Mug searched from the air. Today, the USCG continued their search with additional vessel and air resources including Santa Barbara County Air Support Copter 964 on its first operational mission. Copter 964 conducted an aerial search for the missing diver and provided medical support for the search divers. The USCG requested the assistance of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Underwater Search and Recovery Team who responded to the area and began dives at 1:30 p.m. today. Sheriff’s divers searched the waters for approximately three hours, but were unable to locate the missing diver. At approximately 5:00 p.m., rescue efforts were suspended and command was transferred to the Sheriff’s Office for search and recovery.  

The search for the missing diver will continue tomorrow. Additional agencies will be responding to assist with the search including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dive Team, Los Angeles Port Police, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, and the USCG who will provide perimeter safety zone patrol for the divers. This incident does not appear suspicious in nature.


By ScannerAndrew

Santa Barbara County Fire's Copter 964 along with Coast Guard & NPS are searching for a missing diver reported off the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island. Unknown if the diver was located.

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JB86 Nov 30, 2020 01:04 PM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

The search is for a missing diver.. Reported by his dive-buddy. Last seen just off-shore from a cave the two were checking out. Missing diver said he wanted to go deeper. Dive buddy stated he thought the missing diver was having trouble with his SCUBA gear earlier. That's about all I heard.

tagdes Nov 30, 2020 02:53 PM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

This has been pretty much that since all day. This happened when Parks and others began looking for one of the lobster divers at 6:45 last night. Copter 964 is out of service now.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 30, 2020 04:35 PM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

I have my BC, tank and regulator inspected every year. Every other year my Atomic B2 regulator gets a full rebuild. Our local dive shop, SB Aquatics, is great for that. It's a small price to pay when your life depends on the equipment.

PitMix Dec 01, 2020 07:17 AM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

Internet says this is one of the most dangerous jobs. "Welding, building and repairing structures at around 1,000 feet under water, commercial divers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The most common injuries of commercial divers are a result of their tools and machinery."

Harbor_Seal Dec 01, 2020 12:15 PM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

Based on the location of the recovery boats, I dove this exact cove on the morning of 5NOV2020, while foraging for tasty sea creatures.

Known as "Seals' Cove" there are several interconnected caves: Seals' Cove Submerged Cave, Seals' Secret Cave and Hidden Room Cave. Of note, I entered the mouth one of the caves and saw sunlight light further back, so I entered and followed the light, I surfaced in the back of the cove, I then re-entered the cave and THOUGHT I was going back to where I came from, but surfaced in yet another part of the cove. "I really shouldn't be cave diving..." I thought, but I have a strong sense of direction yet found myself disturbingly disoriented, there was nothing that looked good to eat in those tunnels/caves so I headed out to the cove and found a few meals on the outside.

When I dove the spot on the 5th, I didn't know the names of where I was, only that I'd dove it before and there were some tasty treats to be found. After reading about the location I found myself dreaming of going back and what I'd find if I pressed further into the caves... in one dream I ran out of air, but was saved by the sounds of seals calling to me, I entered a back chamber where I found a rocky beach with old treasures and some seal friends, I survived for a week on lobsters and periodically took a page out of a book and tossed it into the water, to be sucked away, presumably into the cove. Eventually another diver surfaced in the cave wondering where the pages of a book might be coming from and escorted me back to reality.

Ryder and his family are in my prayers.

NostraChumash Dec 03, 2020 12:09 PM
Sheriff's Office Continues Search for Missing Diver

So much loss and death associated with the islands..& still, people continue to disturb those interred there.
Super-chicken constantly reminded Fred;
"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it".

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