Santa Cruz Island, Calif. – The Sheriff’s Office has taken lead in the search for a missing diver near Santa Cruz Island. At approximately 6:45 p.m. 11/29, 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 the 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 addition 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 today. 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.