Search continues for missing diver off Santa Cruz Island

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Crews search for a diver who went missing while looking for lobsters near the Painted Cave Preserve of Santa Cruz Island on Nov. 29, 2020. (Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office)

Crews search for a diver who went missing while looking for lobsters near the Painted Cave Preserve of Santa Cruz Island on Nov. 29, 2020. (Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office)

The search continues for a diver who went missing who went missing while looking for lobsters off the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island Sunday evening, authorities said.

The diver, 34-year-old Ryder Sturt, was tank diving off of a 20-foot recreational boat with a dive partner in the Painted Cave Preserve area of the island but did not resurface, according to a press release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Sturt’s dive partner radioed for help, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the Painted Cave Preserve area at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday to look for Sturt, authorities said.

Several Coast Guard teams along with a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s dive team and air support helicopter searched the waters off the island overnight without success.

Crews continued the search Monday with rescue divers entering the water around 1:30 p.m, officials said.

After three hours of searching without any luck locating the diver, officials said rescue efforts were suspended and the Sheriff’s Office took over as lead for the search and recovery mission.

The search for Sturt will resume again Tuesday with help from Los Angeles and Ventura County agencies, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Office does not suspect any foul play.

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