The coroner’s office will perform an autopsy this week to determine what caused the death of a 51-year-old diver, who was unresponsive when pulled from the ocean bottom in Laguna Beach’s Shaw’s Cove on Friday, lifeguard officials said.
The diver was identified as Mark Gibbs, of Tustin, according to the coroner’s office’s website.
Gibbs was among a dive class of four people organized by Irvine’s Dive & Photo, marine safety Lt. Kai Bond said on Monday. Though divers usually submerge in pairs, when the group resurfaced in the popular dive spot after their first 35-minute dive, “for whatever reason,” Gibbs had become separated from his dive buddy,” Bond said.
The alarmed divers shouted for help from the water and citizens onshore called authorities to report a missing diver at 11:21 a.m., police said.
A three-man Laguna lifeguard dive team located Gibbs by 12:40 p.m. on the ocean floor at the north end of Shaw’s Cove, stripping him of 15 to 20 pounds of weights to bring him to the surface, said Bond, who described water conditions as fairly calm.
The diver’s air tank, which generally holds 35 to 40 minutes of air, was empty, he said.
Emergency personnel performed CPR on Gibbs, who was in cardiac arrest and was pulled aboard a Newport Beach lifeguard boat. He was transported to Newport Harbor and from there transferred to an awaiting ambulance and Hoag hospital, a police statement said.